Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the indictment of an FDNY firefighter for allegedly driving while intoxicated and killing a man in a wrong-way motor vehicle crash on the Sunken Meadow Parkway in November 2020.
“This was a senseless tragedy caused by someone who was sworn to protect the safety of others,” District Attorney 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.”
Joseph Norris, 38, of Babylon, is charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, a class B felony; Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, a class C felony; Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony; Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class D felony; Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, a misdemeanor; two counts of Driving While Intoxicated, a misdemeanor; Reckless Driving, a misdemeanor; and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor. Norris has been employed by the FDNY since 2006.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2020, Norris was allegedly driving a 2008 Chevrolet Colorado southbound 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, Anthony Mariano, 44, of Kings Park, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Norris was transported to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore with serious physical injuries. A chemical test of Norris’ blood following the crash revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.29 percent.
Norris was arraigned on the indictment today in front of Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Stephen Braslow and bail was set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. He is being represented by Anthony LaPinta and is due back in court on April 15.
If convicted of the top count, Norris faces a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Raymond Varuolo and Maggie Bopp, of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.