Manslaughter, assault charges dismissed in car crash

Manslaughter and assault charges against Michael Fredericks, the Manslaughter and assault charges against Michael Fredericks, the second of two men accused of killing four people in a Copiague street race, were dismissed. (Sept. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Handout

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Manslaughter and assault charges against the second of two men accused of killing four people in a Copiague street race were dismissed Friday.

Michael Fredericks, 24, of Babylon had been charged with second-degree manslaughter, assault and other charges after Suffolk police and prosecutors said he was racing against Damian Dudkiewicz, 28, of Lindenhurst on July 26, 2009. Dudkiewicz swerved to avoid another car, lost control and hit a minivan coming the other way on Montauk Highway.

Killed were a passenger in the minivan, Teresa Zuardo, 69, of Brooklyn; and Dudkiewicz's passengers: Grzegorz Osko, 29; his wife, Kamila Boriczka Osko, 26; and Dudkiewicz's pregnant fiancee, Magda Siwik, 30, all of Lindenhurst.

But Dudkiewicz was acquitted of the same charges after an eight-week trial in November. That left the charges against Fredericks on tenuous legal ground.

"I was pleased the court dismissed all the serious charges," said his attorney, Stephen Civardi of Freeport. "The acquittal of Mr. Dudkiewicz established there was never a drag race. Michael had come forward as a witness and should never have been charged."

In return for the dismissed criminal charges, Fredericks agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation. State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen sentenced him to a conditional discharge.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Turk said Zuardo's family "although not happy with the plea, is satisfied."

At the trial last fall, two witnesses in a car behind the defendants testified they saw them race. A detective also testified that Dudkiewicz signed a statement describing a race.

But his attorney, William Keahon of Hauppauge, argued that the witnesses and the detective weren't reliable.

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