MANORVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- The man accused of driving drunk and plowing his car into a group of Boy Scouts, killing a 12-year-old boy, appeared in court Tuesday and read a letter to the families of his victims.
Thomas Murphy is facing upgraded charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors say his estimated blood alcohol content at time of crash was .19.
The crash happened just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, when the car hit the boys as they were walking on the side of David Terry Road in Manorville. The scouts from Troop 161 were headed for a hike and were walking single file with adults at the time.
Five boys ranging in age from 12 to 16 were injured, and 12-year-old Andrew McMorris died of his injuries. McMorris was in the seventh grade at Albert Prodell Middle School.
The McMorris family and dozens of Boy Scouts were in court for Murphy's appearance and the reading of his statement by his lawyer.
"A beautiful, wonderful child lost his life," it read. "I can never make that right. To the parents and family of Andrew McMorris, I want to express my deepest sorrow, sympathy and prayers. I am a parent. I know that nothing can fill the void left by the death of your beloved son. I am so very sorry. To the wonderful, special boy who was so severely injured, Thomas Lane, his parents and family, I want also to express how very sorry I am. My prayer is that Thomas make a full recovery. Again, I am so remorseful for his injuries. To all of the other boys who were injured, I am very sorry. I, along with my attorney, and my family, will review the indictment that has been given to me this morning. I will also review the evidence that has been presented against me. It is my ultimate intention to accept responsibility for my role in this tragic accident, so that perhaps, the healing for the victims, especially the McMorris family, will not be delayed by my court proceeding."
Prosecutors said Murphy started drinking vodka at a golf club at 9 a.m. and was playing golf with three of his friends. They say that before he left, a friend offered to drive him because he knew how drunk he was. Murphy apparently refused.
A witness saw him swerve at least once before he hit the Scouts, and all four tires reportedly crossed over the white line on the roadway.
"Nothing will bring Andrew back, but we will obtain justice in this case on behalf of the families and Troop 161," District Attorney Tim Sini said. "My office is committed to handling this case most professionally and most efficiently to ensure that this defendant is held accountable for his actions. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and the entire Boy Scout community in the wake of this tragedy."
Murphy pleaded not guilty and remains free on a previously posted $500,000 bail.
Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220 TIPS.