By Jano Tantongco
A New York Department of Transportation representative said Monday that the department is not currently planning to beef up security at Republic Airport days after Suffolk police said a Wheatley Heights man led them on a chase that culminated with him driving onto the runway.
Suffolk police said Kroy Moore, 34, drove his 2015 Volkswagen Jetta through a red light on Mount Avenue in Wyandanch at around 1:35 a.m. on Saturday. A First Precinct patrol officer tried to pull over the vehicle, police said, but Moore didn’t stop and was pursued for a short while longer.
About a minute later, the car was seen by a different First Precinct officer on New Highway in Farmingdale, police said. Moore then drove through a fence at Republic Airport, police said, and onto the runway. He continued to drive through the airport until his vehicle became “inoperable,” police said in a statement, and the man took off on foot until he was apprehended by police.
Moore was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol, criminal trespass, false personation, criminal mischief and unlawful fleeing of a police officer. He was held overnight at the First Precinct, and arraigned on Sunday. Bond was set at $1,000, with cash bail at $500, which was not posted, according to court records.
In response to the incident Nicole Jones, acting as the DOT’s public information officer, said “at this moment, we don’t have any further information.” She said there were currently no planned security increases for the airport.
Another DOT spokeswoman, Jennifer Post, said Tuesday that the 8-foot tall chain-link fence surrounding the airport “meets Federal Aviation Administration standards” and “in this case the fence did its job, which is to slow down an intruder and provide time for authorities to respond.”
In an emailed statement, State Assemblyman (R-South Huntington) said that the “isolated” incident could serve to “the critical importance of ensuring that hubs of mass transportation are secure from outside intrusions, accidental or otherwise.”
He added, “I will continue to work closely with my colleagues and New York State DOT officials to ensure that we continue to seek and discover new, innovative solutions that will bolster the security of mass transit throughout New York State."
With additional reporting by Andrew Wroblewski