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Guilty plea after fatal 2013 New York crash

A man has pleaded guilty in connection with a fatal crash in Sayville. The crash left one person dead and injured another. Though a grand jury had indicted the man for several crimes, including aggravated vehicular homicide and murder in the second degree by depraved indifference, the Suffolk District Attorney reported the guilty plea entered on Feb. 20 was for first-degree manslaughter.

The case stems from a Jan. 2013 car accident on Montauk Highway. A Patchogue man, driving while under the influence of a few drugs, including morphine and PCP, collided head-on with a vehicle driven by an 82-year-old West Islip man. The West Islip man was killed in the incident. His passenger, a 79-year-old woman from Oakdale, was seriously injured in the accident.

The Patchogue man is expected to be sentenced to 21 years in prison in May. According to the Suffolk District Attorney, the admission of guilt on the part of the Patchogue man was a victory, particularly when compared with the recent acquittal for murder by depraved indifference of another driver accused of killing an adolescent driver in 2012. The man's blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was four times the legal limit.

When someone is killed in an accident, the surviving family might consider filing a wrongful death claim against the liable driver. An admission of guilt in a case such as this might be used as evidence to show negligence on the part of a driver in a civil case. If the family does decide to file and the claim is successful, the family might be awarded damages for economic losses, including any medical, funeral and burial expenses they incurred as well as loss of financial support.

Source: Medford Patch, "Patchogue Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Fatal 2013 Crash," Ryan Bonner, Feb. 20, 2015

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