Motorcyclist in fatal crash jail after bail hiked

Matthew Byank and Lauren Parris are seen together

Matthew Byank and Lauren Parris are seen together in an undated Facebook photo. Police said they tried to pull over Byank for speeding Monday night before the motorcycle accident in which Parris was killed. Photo Credit:

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The Manorville man whose pregnant fiancee died when the motorcycle he was driving crashed in Amagansett was jailed Friday after he pleaded not guilty in Riverhead to manslaughter and other charges.

Wearing a dark suit and a sling for a broken collarbone he suffered in the May 24 crash, Matthew Byank, 19, was taken into custody when Judge Stephen Braslow increased his bail at his arraignment in Suffolk County Court.

Braslow set bail Friday at $250,000 bond or $150,000 cash. Byank had been free on $50,000 bond. If convicted of manslaughter, he faces a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Byank and Lauren Parris, 19, of Mastic Beach, were thrown from Byank's motorcycle when he struck a utility pole while driving west on Montauk Highway. Parris died at Southampton Hospital.

Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said witnesses estimated Byank was going 90 mph to 150 mph when he crossed into the eastbound lanes before the crash. He said Byank was fleeing an East Hampton police officer who had switched on his emergency lights after Byank rode past him at a high rate of speed.


"The motorcycle was actually ripped in half" by the impact with the pole, Kurtzrock said.

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He said Byank should not have been riding with a passenger because he only had a motorcycle permit. In addition, his driver's license had been suspended, Kurtzrock said.

Watching from a third-row seat, Parris' father, Daniel Parris, exploded when Byank's attorney, Tad Scharfenberg of Bohemia, said Kurtzrock's comments were "upsetting."

"Upsetting?" Parris said. "That's upsetting?"

Outside court, Parris said he and his daughter had been worried about Byank's driving even before the fatal crash.

"He bragged about doing 180 miles per hour on the William Floyd Parkway," Parris told reporters.

Scharfenberg said outside court he is conducting his own investigation of the crash.

In court, Scharfenberg said Byank was despondent over his fiancee's death.

"He loved her," he said. "He's told me numerous times that if he could change places with her, he would."

Byank was ordered to return to court on July 13.

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