A Suffolk County driver could face a felony DUI charges arising from a drunk driving accident that left a 56-year old woman dead. The fatal accident occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 5.
The woman who was struck was reportedly delivering the Sunday edition of the local newspaper when she was struck by the 2001 Ford pickup truck driven by a 31-year old resident of Aquebogue. The deceased woman is from Middle Island, but she was delivering newspapers in Hampton Bays when the collision occurred.
According to law enforcement reports from the Southampton Police Department, the man was heading westbound on Montauk Highway when he allegedly struck a parked vehicle near the Ponquogue Avenue intersection. He then hit the woman, who was standing outside of her car at the time. Paramedics from the Hampton Bays Fire Department responded to the scene. The man driving the truck suffered injuries from the crash and was taken to Riverhead, where he was evaluated and treated by emergency medical professionals at the Peconic Bay Medical Center.
Preliminary media reports indicate that this was the man’s first DUI offense. Although the person who was struck was pronounced dead at the scene, the man was only charged with DUI, but officials from the New York State Police Forensic ID and Collision Reconstruction Unit have not yet issued their report. Depending on the findings by this unit, prosecutors may decide to press more serious felony DUI charges against him.
Since the accused person, in this case, was only charged with DUI at the time, his defense attorney might move quickly to ensure that the defendant can meet adequate conditions for bail release. Although nothing in the news report indicates that the suspect may be a flight risk, the prosecution could seek to keep him in custody by persuading the court of the potential severity of the charges with regard to the woman’s death. Keeping clients out of jail is always part of a solid defense strategy in DUI cases. If more serious charges come about, the DWI defense attorney may negotiate with the prosecution for a plea bargain to potentially mitigate some of the consequences of a conviction.