An off-duty FDNY firefighter who allegedly had a blood alcohol content more than triple the legal limit when he killed a man in a wrong-way crash on Long Island has been charged in a nine-count indictment, the Suffolk County District Attorney announced.
Babylon resident Joseph Norris, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY, has been indicted for allegedly driving while intoxicated and killing a man in a wrong-way motor vehicle crash on the Sunken Meadow Parkway in November 2020.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said that Norris, age 38, has been charged with:
- Aggravated vehicular homicide;
- First-degree vehicular manslaughter;
- Second-degree vehicular manslaughter;
- Aggravated driving while intoxicated;
- Two counts of driving while intoxicated;
- Reckless driving;
- Reckless endangerment.
The indictment alleges that at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 last year, Norris was driving his 2008 Chevrolet Colorado south in the northbound lane of the Sunken Meadow Parkway near exit SM3A in Smithtown when he struck a 2007 Mazda CX7 SUV.
The driver of the Mazda, 44-year-old Kings Park resident Anthony Mariano, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Norris was transported to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore with “serious” injuries.
Sini said that a test of Norris’ blood taken while he was at the hospital found that his blood alcohol content was .29 percent, nearly quadruple the legal limit.
“This was a senseless tragedy caused by someone who was sworn to protect the safety of others,” Sini said. “His blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit when he made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car – a decision that proved to have fatal, devastating consequences.
“There is no excuse for it. My office will seek to hold him accountable and obtain justice for the victim.”
If convicted, Norris faces a maximum sentence of between eight and one-third to 25 years in prison.
Norris was arraigned in Suffolk County Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 10 in front of Justice Stephen Braslow, who set bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. He is scheduled to return back in court on Thursday, April 15.
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