Lawyer: Driver Exonerated

    Brian K. Midgett Jr., the driver of the Ford pickup truck that was in a collision with a Volvo on Route 114 in East Hampton on July 29 that caused the death of Douglas Foster Schneiderman of McLean, Va., the Volvo’s driver, has been exonerated from any wrongdoing, according to his attorney, Susan Menu.
    “His toxicology report came back negative on both alcohol and drugs,” she said Tuesday. “There were two phones in the car. He was not talking on either one,” she said. His cellphone records had been subpoenaed by the Suffolk district attorney’s office. The truck Mr. Midgett was driving was impounded, and checked for defects.
    “The district attorney’s office did an excellent job involving a terrible tragedy,” Ms. Menu said. “All this time my client knew he was innocent. He is sick to his heart how this man died.”
    At the time of the accident, Mr. Midgett, who was seriously injured and hospitalized for over 10 days with two broken legs, was arrested and given an appearance ticket for arraignment on Aug. 23 on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. In Ms. Menu’s opinion, the charge was irresponsible and totally without merit.
    “The word goes out that he was involved in a fatality, and that he was driving while on drugs,” she said. “It was not like he was going anywhere,” she said, pointing out that Mr. Midgett would have undergone blood tests, whether or not an appearance ticket was issued.
    East Hampton Town Police Chief Edward Ecker said in August that issuing an appearance ticket was “procedural,” and Detective Lt. Christopher Anderson cautioned at the time that the police were investigating all possibilities. Mr. Schneiderman’s wife and a daughter also were injured in the accident. They are now recovering back in Virginia.
    “If he’d gone to court in response to that ticket,” Ms. Menu said Tuesday, he would have been charged, and the judge would have had to set bail, which, Ms. Menu said, would have continued the incorrect impression that he was criminally responsible for the accident.
    Besides the desk appearance ticket, Mr. Midgett was written up for two moving violations, changing lanes illegally and driving without a seatbelt.
    Robert Clifford, the spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney, was unable to respond to inquiries about the case on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.


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