SHIRLEY - An early morning car accident in Moriches has claimed the life of a veteran Suffolk County hate crimes unit detective.Investigators say Detective Sgt. Robert Reecks, 57, was traveling in the eastbound lane of Sunrise Highway at around 5:30 a.m. when his car veered off the road and struck a pillar. A pair of tire tracks 100 yards long was visible in the grass median leading up to the crash scene near Moriches Middle Island Road.

Detective Lt. Gail Marrero, of the Suffolk County Police Department, says Reecks died at the scene.

The 30-year veteran was highly regarded within the department, where he served with the hate crimes unit, investigating high-profile bias cases.

Suffolk police say Reecks was off duty at the time, but they do not believe that alcohol played a factor in the crash.

"We're still attempting to investigate the pre-accident activities of Sgt. Reecks," Marrero says.