Brookhaven resident Scott Wayte was celebrating his 50th birthday when he died Friday night after being struck by two cars on East Main Street in Riverhead, the victim of a hit-and-run, his heartbroken family said Saturday morning.
On Saturday, his family was in tears as they recalled the tragedy. "It was his birthday," said Jeri Marshall, Wayte's mother-in-law. "He was going to dinner at Cliff's Rendezvous. He was with his children and his wife."
Wayte's tragic death left his wife Denise and children, Brooke, 24, and Alexandra, 19, devastated.
"He was wonderful," Marshall said.
Peggy Bieselin, Wayte's sister, who lost her husband a month ago, was visiting Riverhead to take her brother to dinner for his birthday and was inside the restaurant when the unthinkable happened. Bieselin said Wayte had gone outside to move the car closer to the curb and was struck as he crossed the street back to the restaurant.
Bieselin said Wayte's family shared their thoughts, remembering the husband and father they loved. "He was devoted to his wife Denise and his two daughters, Brooke and Allie," she said. "He was a big Jets fan, he loved to cook, and he loved his dog, Lucky," she said.
Wayte, who worked at VTP Transmission Parts in Lindenhurst, was a loving and deeply caring man, she said.
Wayte also leaves behind his father, Robert Wayte, and two sisters, Bunny Wayte and Wendy Worytko.
According to Riverhead police, upon responding to a call regarding a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian at East Main Street and Union Avenue at 5:40 p.m. on Friday, they arrived to find a male pedestrian pinned beneath a Honda Pilot SUV.
The victim, identified as Wayte, was pronounced dead at the scene by a responding paramedic with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
According to an investigation conducted at the scene and witness accounts, Wayte was attempting to cross East Main Street from north to south when he was struck by an unknown westbound vehicle and sent into the eastbound lane, where he was struck by a second vehicle, a 2006 Honda Pilot, operated by Ernest Austin, 53, of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.
Police said Austin continued driving eastbound for a short distance before stopping after he realized he had struck someone. Austin was not charged in relation to the accident; police are trying to locate the first vehicle that struck Wayte and fled the scene.
Anyone who witnessed the accident or may have information about the vehicle should call Riverhead Police Detective Division at 631-727-4500 ext. 289.