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Police Identify Driver in Deadly Riverhead Hit-And-Run

Suspect was charged with a felony, police said.

Police have identified the driver of the car that they say fled the scene after a fatal hit-and-run in Riverhead last week.

According to Riverhead Police, Joseph D. Plummer, 48, of Middle Island, has been identified as the driver that struck Scott Wayte, who was celebrating his 50th birthday with family at Cliff's Rendezvous on Friday. Wayte went out to move his car and was struck while crossing East Main Street.

Plummer was arrested on Wednesday after an investigation led to the location of the vehicle involved in the accident, a 1999 Saturn, police said; the vehicle was located at Plummer's address and seized as evidence.

Plummer surrendered to authorities and was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident after a death, a felony under New York State vehicle and traffic law. He was held for arraignment.

Wayte was celebrating his 50th birthday when he died Friday night, his 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 death left his wife Denise and children, Brooke, 24, and Alexandra, 19, devastated, she said.

"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. 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 Corps.

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.

Wayte's burial is scheduled for Wednesday.

Bernie K January 02, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Restaurant is called Rendezvous
Mark Jach January 02, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I know this doesn't bring Scott back to his loved ones , but justice has been done by capturing the driver of the vehicle . Rest in peace my friend, you'll be dearly missed by your family and friends . Mark H. Jach
Michelle Spradley January 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Thank you Mark. We have all been deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy. Uncle Scott was a wonderful husband and partner to Aunt Denise as well as the best father Brooke and Allie could ask for. The only solace that I have at this point is that Mr. Plummer is where he belongs. I am hopeful that the "Three Strikes Law" is applicable to this case, as he is already a two time felon. RIP Uncle Scott, you will always be in my heart. Your Neice, Michelle
amanda adams January 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM
To Mr. wayte's family im the step daughter of mr plummer me and my mother would like to give our condolances to your family we are deeply sorry that this has happend and your family has lost a loved one we pray for your family i can not speak for my step father but i do know he is paying for what he did he is ate up with the guilt and i know what he did was wrong but he was a good man and would go with out to make sure others had he would give someone the shirt off his back if it was to keep them warm yes he had his problems but everyone does nobody is perfect lord knows that we all have troubles im sure you dont care about my step father but it needs to be known that he is a good man despite what happend me and my mother are having a very hard time with all this ourselves we lost her sister just a month ago and now we too have lost another loved one because of a careless act that resulted in another death he left the scene because he was scared he was being led by what his boss was telling him to do since he was driving his bosses car and yet his boss is walking around a free man when he took control of the sitiuation and told my step father what to do so please know that we are truely sorry for your loss and will keep praying for your family
Josephine Deserio February 05, 2013 at 05:55 AM
I have met Mr. Plummer numerous times and this accident was waiting to happen as he has a "severe" drinking problem whereas I have personally witnessed him filling his water bottles 1st thing in the morning with Vodka. It also should be known that his boss has a severe narcotic problem . Also, Mr. Plummer has been working (granted he does pool work from the beginning of May until September (when he closes the pools) and he has been getting Public Assistance (Food Stamps and Medicaid) without reporting this to Social Services as this "pool job" is " off the books"...The owner of the Pool Company should suffer the same consequences as Mr. Plummer as he tried to "cover this tragedy and "his tracks" by helping Mr. Plummer. A decent man was killed and Mr. Plummer and his boss should both suffer and rot in jail for a long ..long time. Mr. Plummer since I've known him drives around drunk all the time, abuses his live in girlfriend and his boss/landlord does the same thing high on Vicidin or whatever narcotic he can get his dirty hands on.

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