Hit-and-Run Kills Man on Main Street, Amagansett

Accident site, Amagansett
Flowers left alongside Main Street in Amagansett, where John Judge, 61, was stuck and killed in a hit-and-run accident Tuesday night. David E. Rattray

    A $5,000 cash reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver whose car struck a pedestrian on Main Street in Amagansett Tuesday evening and left him bleeding profusely by the side of the road. The victim, John Judge of Amagansett, was rushed to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
    Shortly before 8 p.m. East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stan­zione, who was on his way to Astro Pizza to pick up dinner, found Mr. Judge lying next to a parked truck across the street, on the eastbound shoulder. Tony Lupo, an owner of the restaurant, said that Mr. Judge, who was a regular at his restaurant, had had dinner there and had just left. He was crossing the street “to go to bed,” said Mr. Lupo, when he was struck. Mr. Judge, 61, lived on the south side of the highway.
    Mr. Stanzione said yesterday that he had parked on the north side of Main Street, in front of Body Tech and just east of of the pizza place. For some reason, he said, he glanced across the street and saw a huddled shape on the ground.
    He thought at first that one of the decorative Halloween scarecrows that have been put up on posts along Amagansett Main Street had fallen, but he walked across the street to see.
    The man lying there was clearly unconscious, Mr. Stanzione said. Having left his cellphone at home, he ran into Astro Pizza to call 911.
    “Dominick came inside the pizza place and said there was a man on the street, and said, ‘Let me call 911,’ ” said Mr. Lupo. “And I said okay. John had just left my place. And I said, ‘It’s not John, is it?’ because he knows John. He said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know who it is.’ ”
    Tom Field, an Amagansett Fire Department emergency medical technician whose house is just a few doors away from Astro Pizza, “arrived within 30 seconds,” said Mr. Stanzione, and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The rest of the E.M.S. squad got there at “amazing speed,” Mr. Stanzione said, and “worked incredibly hard.”
    “I just wish it turned out better,” said the councilman, a member of the Amagansett Fire Department who also serves as an Amagansett ambulance driver.
    Mr. Judge was well known to the shopkeepers of Main Street. He was a handyman who worked for Elaine Monroe, the owner of Decorum, who was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
    “He used to cross the street all the time,” said Connie Dankmyer, the owner of Nellie’s, which neighbors Decorum to the west, to get to the shops on the north side.
    “He was very kind,” Ms. Dankmyer said. “A very sweet man. He would help you out in a minute. If I needed anything, he would always be there.”
    “We’re appealing to the driver or any of the occupants of the car to come forward,” East Hampton Town Police Chief Edward Ecker said yesterday, “or anybody who has any information that would lead us to the vehicle.”
    According to the chief, the eastbound vehicle that struck Mr. Judge sustained a good deal of front-end damage. Several pieces fell off the fleeing car; possibly enough, said the chief, to enable detectives to identify the make and model.
    Police closed the area to traffic for several hours Tuesday night. “We did an extensive crime scene investigation,” the chief said. “We brought in the Suffolk County Police Identification team as well as the county’s crime lab.
    “This is very sad,” said Joey Lupo, Tony Lupo’s son, who was cooking at Astro Pizza Tuesday night. “Words can’t even describe it. One minute I cooked him dinner, the next minute he’s lying in the road dead. It’s heartbreaking. He was such a sweet man. It’s terrible, to be left there to die. It’s not right.”
    This is the second East End hit-and-run fatality this year. On July 9, Sister Jacqueline Walsh was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Rose Hill Road in Water Mill.
    It is also the second pedestrian fatality in Amagansett this year. Jeffrey Ahn, 17, died on June 23 on Old Stone Highway after being struck by the side mirror of a livery van. The youth had been walking with his back to traffic on that narrow road, police said at the time.
    There were apparently no witnesses to Tuesday night’s incident. Detectives have asked that anyone with information call 537-7575, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
With reporting by Joanne Pilgrim and Christopher Walsh


Comments

This is an outrage. Can't say how many close calls I have witnessed, or ran in terror myself as drivers callously, carelessly, recklessly, or murderously ignore posted speed limits. The police cannot be everywhere at once but nothing would slow down these speeding, texting, less-than-sober fools like some well-placed speed bumps. Isn't time? Don't we owe it to the memory of these misfortunate fellow citizens? SPEED BUMPS NOW!