After a car crash last week left a Brookhaven National Lab safety engineer dead, bail was reduced on Monday for the man driving the car, who currently stands charged with DWAI and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child and was held over the weekend at Suffolk County Jail.
William Slatton, a 31-year-old Middle Island resident, is due back in Riverhead Justice Court next Wednesday, according to his attorney, Central Islip-based Joe Cozzo.
Cozzo was held over the weekend after Riverhead Judge Alan Smith . On Monday, Cozzo said, bail was dropped to $10,000 cash, $20,000 bond.
"A lot of times when clients have private counsel, it's an indication that they are taking the charges more seriously and there's less of a chance that they will travel out of the court's jurisdiction," Cozzo said.
The lawyer added Monday afternoon that Slatton had not made bail as of yet. Slatton reported on Friday that he had about $1,900 in savings.
Riverhead Police reported on Thursday that Slatton was driving on Route 25 in Calverton, near the Calverton National Cemetery, around 1:30 p.m. when his 2005 Toyota Corrolla – which was driving westbound – veered across the street and struck bicyclist Steven Kane, a BNL engineer, former Coast Guard member, and recent grandfather.
Kane, an avid bicyclist, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
On Friday, prosecutors said that Slatton was high on methadone at the time of the crash, during which four of his children were in the car. Assistant District Attorney Dennis Ryan said Slatton has been convicted of a felony in the past, as well as several misdemeanors. He also said Slatton has failed to appear in court on three separate occasions in the past.
In the days following the accident, Kane's siblings – of which there are six – reached out to offer their thoughts about the tragic crash. Kane's sister Barbara said the family has been let down so far already from what they are seeing from the justice system.
"I guess we struggle with the legal system allowing him even the opportunity to get behind the wheel again," she said via email. "He obviously has no regard for the law, yet that same legal system is allowing him the chance to leave jail ... If he had not driven on a suspended license, or been on drugs (allegedly) that would be a different story, but that is not the case."
Judge Smith said last week that the Major Crimes Bureau in the District Attorney's Office was reviewing the case, and said that he expected charges to be upgraded. Cozzo added Monday that the results of lab tests examining Slatton's blood toxicology levels at the scene of the crash had yet to come in.
A spokesman for the DA did not return a request for comment last week on the incident.
Cozzo said Slatton is "extremely remorseful" over the situation, and said that the accident occurred while Slatton was passing a beverage to one of the kids in his car. Cozzo added that Slatton was on his way home from a methadone clinic in Riverhead at the time of the crash.