Wantagh man indicted for alleged pedestrian killing in Woodbury


Willem Specht, a Wantagh resident, was indicted on July 25 for allegedly driving drunk and killing a pedestrian in a Woodbury diner parking lot in January.

Specht, 62, was arraigned on several charges from aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, assault, aggravated driving while intoxicated and driving while intoxicated.

He pleaded not guilty and remains free on bail. His next court date is Sept. 7. If convicted, Specht faces up to 25 years in prison.

Joseph Devito, 61, was standing on the sidewalk outside the On-parade Diner near 2:30 p.m., talking with a friend from high school just after having lunch on Jan. 28, Nassau County District Attorney officials said.

Then, according to police, Specht allegedly moved his car in reverse very fast and struck Devito, narrowly missing Devito’s friend. Specht then continued to drive his 2004 Infiniti G35 in reverse, drove other another sidewalk, hit a ramp and a metal fence that leads into the diner and then struck the diner’s outside wall while in reverse.

Specht then allegedly drove forward, stopped the car in a parking spot in his original direction, got out of the vehicle, stood in the lot for a brief time. Then tried to leave but was stopped by a witness, the police said.

Devito suffered severe head injuries and died a short time later at Syosset Hospital.

Nassau police then arrested Specht.

“The reckless actions allegedly committed by this defendant cost an innocent family man his life,” District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a news release. “No family should have to endure this kind of loss and we continue to express our condolences to the Devito family as we aggressively prosecute this case.”