Detective testifies in manslaughter case

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A Suffolk detective had a pointed question for a Lindenhurst man who was flat on his back on a hospital gurney and had just found out his fiancee was dead, the detective testified Tuesday.

"How about the truth?" now retired Det. Philip Daly said he asked Damian Dudkiewicz. With that, Daly said, a teary-eyed Dudkiewicz filled in some gaps in his account of the July 26, 2009, crash that had killed four people on Montauk Highway in Copiague just hours before.

Dudkiewicz, now 28, who is accused of losing control of his car while racing another motorist, is on trial for second-degree manslaughter before State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen. The other driver, Michael Fredericks, 23, of Babylon, will be tried later.

Dudkiewicz told him the other driver revved his engine, and so did he, Daly testified during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco. As the light changed, Dudkiewicz surged ahead, passed two cars and may have hit 70 mph before a car turned in front of him, he said, according to Daly.

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.

Damien Dudkiewicz (L) faces between 5 and 15 years in prison if convicted in the death of his pregnant girlfriend, two of their friends in the backseat, and an elderly woman in another car in a crash on Montauk Highway in Copiague in 2009. Michael Fredricks (R), 23, of Babylon, is awaiting trial on charges in connection with the same fatal crash. (Sept. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Handout

Daly testified he didn't inform Dudkiewicz of his rights to remain silent and to have an attorney during the hospital questioning because he was not a suspect or under arrest then.

On cross-examination, however, defense attorney William Keahon suggested it didn't happen that way. "There's no confession in this case," he said.

Daly told Keahon that before he went to the hospital to talk to Dudkiewicz, he found no evidence that Dudkiewicz had been intoxicated, or had crossed the yellow line, forced any cars off the road or endangered pedestrians.

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But Daly said he did know that witnesses in another car described Dudkiewicz and Fredericks as revving their engines before taking off at high speed and passing other cars.

When Dudkiewicz didn't mention those details, Daly said he felt he was being deceitful and asked for the truth. Keahon suggested Daly simply assumed the other witnesses' accounts were accurate.

"But he didn't lie to you," Keahon said, as Daly agreed. Daly told Keahon he never asked Dudkiewicz if he'd been racing or where he was speeding.

The trial resumes next week.

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