What to Know
- An alleged drunk driver accused of hitting a group of Boy Scouts has pleaded not guilty to charges including vehicular homicide
- The driver, Thomas Murphy, was allegedly drinking vodka and playing golf before the incident, prosecutors said
- Murphy allegedly refused a ride from a colleague in the club’s parking lot before he locked himself in his car, according to prosecutors
An alleged drunk driver accused of hitting a group of Boy Scouts as they walked along a Long Island street —killing one of them — pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.
Thomas Murphy, 59, had allegedly been playing golf and drinking large amounts of vodka at Swan Lake Golf Club in Manorville before he hit the group of boys on Sept. 30, prosecutors said.
He was initially charged with DWI, but a grand jury last week returned 16 criminal charges against him, including aggravated vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter and aggravated driving while intoxicated.
On Tuesday, Murphy's lawyer Steven McCarthy read a statement in which his client expressed remorse and accepted responsibility for the incident, despite pleading not guilty to all 16 counts.
"A beautiful, wonderful child lost his life. I can never make that right," Murphy said in the statement.
Murphy allegedly refused a ride from a colleague in the club’s parking lot before he locked himself in his car, according to prosecutors.
On his ride home, he swerved onto the shoulder of the road and drove into five scouts who were walking in a single-file line with parents and several other scouts, prosecutors said.
One of the boys, 12-year-old Andrew McMorris, succumbed to his injuries, police said. A 15-year-old boy was left with serious injuries, and a 16-year-old boy and two 15-year-olds suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
McMorris’ parents were in the courtroom on Tuesday, wearing red ribbons with the boy’s photo. A group of scouts from Troop 161 were also in attendance.
Prosecutors say Murphy's blood alcohol level after the crash was nearly twice the legal limit. His driver's license has been suspended, according to prosecutors.
Murphy could face up to 25 years in prison if he's convicted of the top count, prosecutors said. He's expected to appear in court again on Nov. 27.