MATTITUCK, N.Y. – A Long Island social studies teacher and assistant fire chief faces drunken driving charges after police allege he crashed a fire vehicle into several road signs and then fled the scene.
Southold Town Police contend Riverhead High School social studies teacher David McKillop, 55, was driving a Jamesport Fire Department vehicle with two passengers on Route 25 around 6:20 p.m. Saturday when he crashed into several street signs, Riverhead Local reports.
McKillop, who also serves as assistant fire chief, allegedly fled the scene, but a witness described the crash and vehicle to police, who intercepted McKillop traveling westbound on Route 25 in Mattituck, according to the Riverhead News-Review.
“The officer who stopped him in Mattituck noticed the windshield was shattered. He had pretty significant damage to the front end of the vehicle with the bumper handing and a headlight out,” Southold Town Police Chief Marti Flatley told CBS New York.
North Fork Patch posted a short video clip of the damage to the SUV.
Posted by North Fork Patch on Monday, February 15, 2016
“After interviewing the driver of the suburban, (the officer) came to the conclusion he was intoxicated and he was arrested,” Flatley said.
Witnesses told police McKillop marched in an annual Washington’s Day parade in Greenport earlier in the day.
CBS New York reports no one was seriously injured in the crash.
“On the one hand, I don’t think he should get in trouble because he’s something of an icon to the community,” an unidentified local man told the news site.
“Something needs to be done, he could of hurt someone,” another unidentified resident said. “He did run off the road.”
Aside from teaching, McKillop also coaches several sports in the school district. His current employment status is unclear.
CBS New York went to the teacher’s home to discuss the incident, but no one answered the door.
Ray Janis, McKillop’s colleague at the fire house, told the news site he was shocked by the arrest.
“I am the one who got him in the firehouse and I am very upset what happened, and I would really like to know the facts,” he said.
McKillop appeared in a white t-shirt “while police held his fire department jacket in court” on Sunday, when he pleaded not guilty to charges of driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, driving without headlights after dark, and driving with a defective windshield, according to the News-Review.
The teacher was released without bail after his attorney, John O’Brien, pointed out it was McKillop’s first offense, and highlighted his involvement in the community.
Jamesport Fire Department Chief John Andrejack told Riverhead Local “Dave has been a Jamesport Fire Department volunteer with 20 years of service and has had a spotless record.”