A Mineola judge called a 22-year-old man "young and stupid" for participating in a high-speed race on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) in Feb. 2017 that killed his best friend, then 19, The Manhasset man had previously pled guilty to manslaughter and DUI. On May 29, he was sentenced to a three-to-nine-year prison term. That sentence was the result of a plea bargain.
The young man was racing another driver at speeds that exceeded 120 miles per hour, according to prosecutors, when their vehicle crashed. His friend was in the backseat of his BMW when it spun out and struck a truck and a guardrail. He was ejected from the vehicle near Exit 44 and struck a guardrail, which sliced his body in half.
Last December, the driver of the other vehicle, a 22-year-old man from Muttontown, was found guilty of multiple charges, including manslaughter and leaving a fatal crash scene, by a jury in Nassau. He claimed that he was trying to escape the other driver and was a victim of that man's road rage. Prosecutors argued that the two drivers, who didn't know each other, suddenly decided to drag race on the LIE. He was sentenced to between 3.5 and 10.5 years behind bars.
The Manhasset man was unable to get through his statement in court, so his attorney finished reading it. He said that since the tragic crash, he'd been going to college, working, "staying clean" and "trying to be a father to my daughter." He lost his own father in the 9/11 attacks.
The victim's family spoke about their loss, calling it "a disaster that will last until eternity." The prosecutor talked about the defendant's "brazen decision to treat the Long Island Expressway like his own personal racetrack" The judge said, "I believe you are truly sorry for your actions. Nevertheless, your actions on that evening were also reprehensible….Because of those actions, a young man is gone."
It wasn't reported whether the victim's family is taking civil action against either of the two drivers. However, when a family loses a loved one in a crash as the result of a driver's reckless behavior or negligence, they may be able to take legal action -- regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings -- to seek compensation for burial costs, lost wages and other expenses and damages.