A Nassau County Court judge has ruled the prosecution of a Farmingdale man accused in the deaths of five teenagers in an alleged drag race in Farmingdale can go forward, rejecting the argument that there wasn't enough evidence to warrant his indictment.
An attorney for Cory Gloe, now 18, had asked Judge Terence Murphy to dismiss manslaughter, assault, criminally negligent homicide and other charges against his client in the May 10, 2014, crash, arguing that it was actually the fault of an alcohol-impaired teenage driver who died in the wreck.
The defense also said there was no proof that speeding took place, saying those allegations were based on opinions of "impaired teenagers" in Gloe's car.StoryLawyer: Don't blame client in fatal crashStory5th teen victim of Farmingdale crash dies, cops sayStoryDreams die with young crash victims
But in a decision made public Friday, Murphy ruled that the evidence presented by Nassau prosecutors was legally sufficient for a grand jury to hand up its indictment of Gloe.
The crash took the lives of driver Tristan Reichle, 17, and his passengers Jesse Romero, 18, Carly Lonnborg, 14, Noah Francis, 15, and Cody Talanian, 17. Court papers show Reichle had a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent.
Under state law, a 17-year-old driver with a 0.07 percent blood-alcohol level could be legally impaired, may be arrested and could face a minimum one-year license revocation, officials said.
A toxicology report obtained by Newsday showed Reichle also had used marijuana, but it wasn't clear whether the drug was present at a level that would have caused impairment at the time of the crash.
The defense has said charges against Gloe should be dismissed because, among other reasons, the grand jury never heard that Reichle was impaired by alcohol and that contraband was either in the car or on the underage passengers. Murphy rejected the argument.
Prosecutors have said Gloe goaded Reichle into a drag race while both drivers were stopped at a red light at Route 110 and Conklin Street, and that the two cars raced for about three-quarters of a mile before Reichle lost control.
Authorities said Reichle's car then crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed into a sport utility vehicle, seriously injuring two other people. Gloe's car didn't make contact with Reichle's car or the SUV, and he wasn't arrested until after a January indictment, authorities said.
In a statement, acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said: "Nothing will ever change the heartbreaking loss of five teenagers and the serious injuries caused by this crash, but we are grateful that the Court found there was sufficient evidence, properly presented to the grand jury, to support the charges against Cory Gloe for ignoring the fact that people can be killed or injured when you 'drag race.' "
Neither Gloe's attorney nor family members of the deceased could immediately be reached Friday.