An emergency dispatcher is facing DWI charges after police say he struck and killed a pedestrian on Long Island while driving drunk.
James Fitzpatrick, 37, was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado westbound on Suffolk Avenue in Central Islip when he allegedly struck Robert Fornasier just before 12:15 a.m. A medical examiner pronounced the 63-year-old dead at the scene.
Gas station surveillance video appears to show Fornasier walking across the middle of the street before he was hit.
Fitzpatrick, who was allegedly drunk at the time of the fatal strike, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. The Suffolk County Police Department confirmed that he has been a dispatcher for the Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services for a decade.
A county spokesperson refused to comment on Fitzpatrick's job status. Fitzpatrick's lawyer said that he did have a couple of drinks but that he wasn't intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Suffolk County Police are waiting on the results of blood-alcohol tests.
Fitzpatrick was scheduled to be arraigned in Central Islip Friday. His car was impounded for a safety check as police continue to investigate.
The fatal crash seemed to some officials like the latest in a rash of DWI incidents. But recent DMV statistics for 2013 and 2014 show that DWI fatalities and injuries are down.
There were 387 DWI fatalities in 2014. That number had dropped to 292 in 2014. As for injuries, there were 6,019 in 2013 and 5,674 in 2014.