Guilty Plea in Crash

Mother and child injured, driver faces two years

       William C. Hurley of Sag Harbor pleaded guilty Tuesday to all charges stemming from an accident on Route 114 in East Hampton last July that left a 6-year-old with a fractured skull and sent the boy’s mother to the hospital as well.

       The most serious of the charges against Mr. Hurley, 61, was assault in the second degree, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. He was also charged with two felony counts of vehicular assault, one for each victim, misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and recklessly causing a serious injury.

       On July 6, Mr. Hurley was driving a 2003 Toyota pickup truck north on Route 114 at a little after 6 p.m. when his car veered into the southbound lane, hitting a 2006 BMW driven by Elizabeth Krimendahl, whose son, Thaddeus Krimendahl, was in the back seat. While Ms. Krimendahl and Mr. Hurley were both hospitalized, their injuries were not considered as serious as the boy’s.

       “I’ve been up since 5:20,” Mr. Hurley told East Hampton Town police when first questioned, Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas J. Spota, said Tuesday, adding that Mr. Hurley also told police he had had two vodka-and-grapefruit drinks before leaving his East Hampton business, Peconic Beverage, for the drive home to Sag Harbor. His blood alcohol level was .14 at the hospital, police said. The legal limit is .08.

       “We are recommending four years,” Mr. Clifford said Tuesday. In Suffolk County Criminal Court in Central Islip that day, however, Justice Fernando Camacho said that he would cap the sentence at two years.

       Mr. Hurley’s attorney, Edward Burke Jr., would not comment about the case after he left the courthouse. He had been in negotiations with the district attorney’s office throughout the discovery process, during which the prosecutor shares with the defense the evidence likely to be produced during a trial. The case was adjourned four times.

       Mr. Burke has pointed out during previous court appearances that Mr. Hurley has no previous criminal record and has great support from the community. Justice Camacho will pronounce a sentence on April 22.

       The prosecution of Mr. Hurley was led by Elizabeth Miller of the Vehicular Crime Bureau, which Mr. Spota set up less than two years ago. The goal of the bureau, Mr. Clifford said Tuesday, was to have a small cadre of assistant district attorneys who would focus specifically on felony cases involving vehicles in accidents that cause serious injury or death, when alcohol or drugs, prescription or otherwise, are involved.

       The attorneys, Mr. Clifford said, are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, available to go right to the scene of such accidents to aid local police investigators from the outset and strengthen the likelihood of successful prosecution.

       Besides having to deal with the newly formed bureau, Mr. Hurley faced another hurdle: Justice Camacho was appointed as a temporary Supreme Court justice specifically to deal with the backlog of cases in Suffolk County Court. After four adjournments, Mr. Hurley apparently had run out of time.


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