Kings Park man charged with DWI after fatally striking landscaper

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CENTRAL ISLIP -

A Kings Park man was charged with DWI after police say he struck and killed a landscaper on a ride-on lawnmower in Fort Salonga Friday afternoon.

Police say 58-year-old Nicholas Pineda-Maldonado was operating a stand-behind lawn mower on Sunken Meadow Road when he was struck by a car traveling south near Trescott Path around 4:30 p.m.

Police say they gave Eugene Coyne, 69, a field sobriety test at the accident scene. They say he had bloodshot and glassy eyes, a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and was unsteady on his feet. 

According to the police report, Coyne told police, "I was driving, I hit him." His vehicle was impounded for a safety check. 

After the accident, Maldonado was taken to St. Catherine of Sienna Medical Center and later transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead Saturday morning.

Coyne faced a judge in Central Islip where he was charged with DWI. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office says that charge may be upgraded because Maldonado died from his injuries.

Coyne is a retired veteran who has no criminal record. His bail was set at $50,000 and is due back in court on Oct. 17. 

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