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May 30, 2018 10:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suspect Arrested In County Road 39 Fatal Hit-And-Run

Chace Quinn is led by Southampton Town and State Police to his arraignment on Tuesday morning.  DANA SHAW
May 30, 2018 10:55 AM

A 19-year-old Southampton man was arrested on Monday and accused of striking and killing a truck driver on County Road 39 during the early morning hours of April 5, never stopping at the scene.

Chace Quinn, a resident of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, is charged with several felonies, including vehicular manslaughter in the first degree and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He was arraigned on Tuesday morning in Southampton Town Justice Court.

The charges are in connection with the death of 63-year-old Joseph Lynn McAlla of Clifford, Pennsylvania. Mr. McAlla had been making a delivery to Southampton Masonry at 2:30 a.m. on April 5 when he was struck by a vehicle as he exited his truck, which was parked on County Road 39. Mr. McAlla was struck so violently that his leg was severed by the impact, and he was left to die in the road.

Mr. Quinn is being held at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside in lieu of $1.4 million bail on the various charges.

According to the narrative of the charges read in court, Mr. Quinn was seen drinking at The Bays Bar & Grill on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays earlier that night, and left in a 2013 Jeep Wrangler. It was noted in court that investigators have surveillance video from near the scene of the crash showing the same Jeep striking Mr. McAlla. They did not say where the video came from.

The Southampton Town Police Detective Division investigated the fatality, and on Tuesday, Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki confirmed earlier reports that the department had seized a Jeep from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, believed to be the one that struck Mr. McAlla, in the days after the crash.

“He did not own the Jeep, so we had to put some pieces together, which included video surveillance and technologies … as well as interviews with individuals,” Chief Skrynecki said.

The eight-week investigation also involved the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit and State Police Investigative Unit, Suffolk County Police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Town Police said.

In court on Tuesday, Mr. Quinn, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was accused by the district attorney’s office of evading police for two months. He changed his cell phone and at one time placed a handgun on the lap of a potential witness—interpreted as a threat.

Mr. Quinn was apprehended on Sunrise Highway by State Police at approximately 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, Town Police said.

Along with the two felonies from the accident, Mr. Quinn faces an additional felony charge of gang assault in the second degree in connection with a March 31 incident. During the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Maggie Bopp said Mr. Quinn and a few others attacked a patron at The Bays Bar & Grill, breaking the victim’s nose and teeth, in addition to causing other injuries. Prosecutors said Mr. Quinn has ties to the Bloods gang.

State Police also charged him with menacing in the second degree, a misdemeanor, in connection with an incident that occurred on March 16, 2018, and obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree, a misdemeanor, in connection with an incident in December 2017. No details were provided on either incident.

At the arraignment, defense attorney Peter Smith had asked the court to release Mr. Quinn on $5,000 bail, but Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson instead set higher bail amounts: $1 million cash or $2 million bond for the vehicular homicide charge; $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond on the gang assault charge; $125,000 cash or $250,000 bond on a charge of intimidating a witness; and $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond each for menacing and resisting arrest.

The court noted that if Mr. Quinn were to post bail, a hearing would be held to identify the sources of the money, and he would be required to wear an ankle monitor after his release.

Justice Wilson told Mr. Quinn that his grandmother, who was in court, has always been at his side for every court proceeding he has faced, and that she was sure that his grandmother always tried to instill in him a desire to do the right thing. “I see you choose not to follow her advice,” she added.

Mr. Quinn’s criminal record was described in court as being 16 pages long, and included a DWI and a history of carrying a firearm.

The Southampton Village Police Department had earlier filed two counts of obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree, a misdemeanor, against Mr. Quinn, stemming from a December 4, 2017, incident. Mr. Quinn and his mother, Linee Quinn, were both charged after they used cars to block Southampton Village Police officers from entering the reservation during a high-speed chase. Witnesses that day said the police vehicles were unmarked.

“He’s got a DWI conviction already… and he was charged with a multitude of other charges in addition to this,” Chief Skrynecki said of the defendant on Tuesday. “He’s obviously not on the right track for someone his age. He’s demonstrating a sequence of unlawful behaviors, which include the gang assault and this vehicular operation, which resulted, sadly, in the death of an individual.”

Chief Skrynecki noted that Mr. McAlla’s family had been notified of the arrest. “The family is very pleased to hear that someone is now being held accountable, and the family’s expressed their appreciation for the thoroughness of the investigation,” he said.

Multiple attempts to reach Mr. McAlla’s family were unsuccessful.

Mr. Quinn was expected to be back in Southampton Town Justice Court on Wednesday morning, May 30, for the obstruction of governmental administration charges stemming from December, and, after that, is expected back on June 1 at 2 p.m.

The investigation into the accident is continuing and Southampton Town Police Detective Division is asking anyone with information to contact them at 631-702-2230.

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