Despite broken ribs, a fractured back and a collapsed lung, a Lindenhurst man could hold a briefcase above his head while in a hospital bed to sign a statement acknowledging that he was racing another driver before he crashed and killed four people, a former detective testified Monday.
Retired Suffolk Det. Philip Daly said Damian Dudkiewicz appeared to have no trouble signing the statement a few hours after the July 26, 2009, crash. Dudkiewicz, 28, is on trial before state Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen, charged with four counts of second-degree manslaughter. He is accused of losing control while racing another motorist on Montauk Highway in Copiague.
Defense attorney William Keahon of Hauppauge appeared skeptical that his client was able to sign the statement in his condition. Keahon leaned back and mimed signing a document held above his head, while Daly agreed that's the way it happened.
"Did he appear to be in any kind of pain?" Keahon asked.
"No," Daly replied. He said Dudkiewicz signed both pages, and noted the signature on the second page was faint because the pen was running dry from being held upside down.
Daly later told Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco that the briefcase was "very lightweight," and not much bigger than a folder.
The other driver, Michael Fredericks, 23, of Babylon, is also charged with manslaughter and will be tried later.
The statement that Dudkiewicz signed said the other driver revved his engine first at a stop light, then he did. When the light changed, Dudkiewicz was in front, passed two cars and may have hit 70 mph before a car turned in front of him, the statement said.
Dudkiewicz said he veered right to avoid the car and lost control, hitting a minivan. Killed were a passenger in the minivan, Teresa Zuardo, 69, of Brooklyn; and three passengers in Dudkiewicz's car -- Grzegorz Osko, 29; his wife, Kamila Boriczka Osko, 26; and Dudkiewicz's fiancee, Magda Siwik, 30, all of Lindenhurst.
Earlier Monday, Keahon asked Daly why he didn't ask his client any questions about when he saw the car that turned in front of him or how far away he was when that happened.
"He answered any question you asked him, didn't he?" Keahon asked, as Daly agreed.
Later, Brosco asked Daly, "Do you know what the term 'Monday morning quarterback' means?"
Daly laughed and said, "Yes."