Selden man accused in fatal drugged driving crash arraigned
The Selden mechanic accused of killing a motorcyclist -- after using heroin the night before -- will face at least vehicular manslaughter charges and possibly charges of vehicular homicide, a prosecutor said Sunday.
Paul Porrini, 55, of Selden, admitted to police Saturday that he used heroin Friday night, had fresh "track marks" and appeared intoxicated at the scene, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said at Porrini's arraignment. She said the charges may be upgraded to vehicular homicide.
Porrini pleaded not guilty Sunday in Suffolk District Court to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges.
Porrini was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Express van west on Veterans Memorial Highway when he ran the light at the Johnson Avenue intersection and struck Christopher White's motorcycle and three other vehicles, Suffolk County police said.
White, 44, a father of three from Medford, was leaving Long Island MacArthur Airport after he and a group of other motorcyclists had escorted World War II veterans to a flight to Washington, D.C.
Newcombe said Porrini was falling asleep on the way to the station house after the Saturday morning crash. Authorities were still waiting on blood and urine tests, authorities said.
Four people in three other vehicles were also hit by the van, police said. They were taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, where they were treated and released.
According to records, Porrini had prior convictions. In July 2007, he was convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated. In December 2010 in Suffolk County Court, he was sentenced to 90 days after pleading guilty to criminal obstruction of breathing, records show.
A five-year order of protection was also issued against him in that case, records show.
Porrini's attorney, Raymond Smith, of the Legal Aid Society, had argued for lower bail, calling Porrini "extraordinarily cooperative" in giving blood and urine samples. He called evidence against his client underlying other accusations "hearsay."
While prosecutors had requested a $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond, First District Judge Jennifer A. Henry ordered Porrini held on $500,000 cash bail or $750,000 bond.