DA: Gary Hendricks pleads not guilty in death of grandfather

Westbound Sunrise Highway was shut down in East

Westbound Sunrise Highway was shut down in East Patchogue by a vehicle accident near Exit 56, Suffolk police said. (July 22, 2013) (Credit: James Carbone)

An East Patchogue man arrested and charged with drunken driving after a crash last week that killed his grandfather pleaded not guilty to an eight-count grand jury indictment at his arraignment Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the indictment against Gary Hendricks -- an indictment that court records show includes charges of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault.

Bail was set at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. Hendricks, 45, did not post bail and remained incarcerated at Suffolk County Jail, according to district attorney spokesman Robert Clifford.


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Hendricks has been held since his arrest shortly after the July 22 crash that killed his grandfather, Isaac Beal, 77. He was arraigned Wednesday before acting State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in Central Islip.

Hendricks was initially charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after the crash, which occurred on Sunrise Highway in East Patchogue about 5:15 p.m. Suffolk County police said that Hendricks, driving a 1999 Suburban west on Sunrise, struck the back of a 1997 GMC pickup truck, then traveled onto the shoulder and overturned several times -- ejecting Beal from the vehicle.

Beal died at the scene. Another passenger was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in critical condition, officials said. The condition of that person was not known Wednesday.

Spota said the indictment comes after an investigation by the police Vehicular Crimes Unit.

Court papers obtained after the crash showed that Hendricks told police he had been recently released from prison in North Carolina and that, as part of his parole condition, he was not supposed to drink. But, according to those court papers, Hendricks said he had two 16-ounce Budweisers before he got behind the wheel and records showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 percent -- twice the legal limit of 0.08 in New York.

With Christopher Peak

and Mackenzie Issler

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