A man was arrested for drunken driving in a crash that killed his grandfather, who was a passenger in the suspect’s truck in East Patchogue on Monday evening, Suffolk County police said.

Gary Hendricks, 45, of Mastic, was driving a Chevrolet Suburban westbound on Sunrise Highway when he rear-ended a GMC pickup truck and veered up an embankment, causing the truck to roll over near the corner of Route 112 at 5:15 p.m., police said.

Hendricks’ grandfather, 77-year-old Isaac Beal, was ejected from the backseat of the Suburban. He pronounced dead at the scene.

The other backseat passenger, 62-year-old Donald Fowler of West Babylon, was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

Hendricks and frontseat passenger, 47-year-old Tina Downes of Medford, were taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The other driver, 21-year-old Jonnathan Penaranda of Patchogue, and his passenger were not injured.

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Hendricks was charged with driving while intoxicated and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip.

Vehicular Crime Unit detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this crash to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.