A Middle Island man has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter and other crimes after he left the scene of a fatal crash while driving high on drugs last month, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's office said Wednesday.
Spota's office said Kendell Owens, 32, pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment charging him with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while impaired by drugs and multiple traffic violations. State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho set cash bail for Owens at $1 million, or $2 million bond. Court records show Owens did not post bail. He had been initially charged with lesser offenses.
Owens was driving east on Montauk Highway on Aug. 11 when his car struck a 2006 sedan being driven by Richard Garcia, 45, of Shirley, who was heading north on William Floyd Parkway. Garcia was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue.
Suffolk police said at the time that Owens ran a red light and was trying to evade an unmarked police officer trying to pull him over because a headlight was out. The police car made a U-turn and tried to stop him on Montauk Highway just west of William Floyd Parkway with his lights and siren on when Owens drove off. Six other people were hospitalized with minor injuries in the crash.
Suffolk County police said Owens ran and was arrested several blocks from the crash. Police also said he admitted he had smoked marijuana, according to prosecutors.