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Hit-Run Driver Sentenced in Death of Long Island Father Celebrating 50th Birthday With Family

Scott Wayte was celebrating his 50th birthday when he was struck and killed

By Greg Cergol
|  Thursday, Jul 11, 2013  |  Updated 10:06 AM EDT
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Hit-Run Driver Sentenced in Death of L.I. Dad

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A Long Island man was sentenced to up to six years in prison for the hit-and-run crash that killed a husband and father celebrating his 50th birthday.

Before the sentencing in Suffolk Court in Riverhead Wednesday, family and friends of victim Scott Wayte vented their anger and grief at the admitted hit-and-run driver, Joseph Plummer, 49.

At times, Plummer, who has a long criminal record, stood with his eyes closed and head bowed, listening to a half-dozen speakers.

"You're scum. I hope you rot in hell," said Wayte's niece, Melanie Stafford.

"I hate you," said Wayte's sister, Wendy Worytko.

Wayte was struck and killed while walking from a Riverhead restaurant last Dec. 28. He had left his birthday celebration to move his car; his wife and two daughters later found his body in the roadway.

"You crippled my family," said Wayte's oldest daughter, Brooke. "I lost my best friend and biggest supporter."

Suffolk's district attorney stood with the Wayte family after the sentencing and said the tragedy highlighted the need for tougher penalties for drunk drivers.

Prosecutors suspect Plummer was drunk at the time of the crash, but couldn't prove it because he had fled the scene.

As a result, Plummer's maximum prison term was far less.

"Had this legislation been passed, we would have seen a far different sentence," said District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Spota's bill proposing increased jail time for hit-and-run drivers has stalled in the state Assembly.

Plummer offered an apology in court, calling the crash an "accident."

According to prosecutors, he could be out of prison in less than two years.

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