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Driver in 'super reckless' crash was chasing ex-girlfriend, prosecutors say

A judge set Dana King Jr.'s bail at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash, as extra court officers stood watch in the courtroom, the hallway and outside First District Court in Hempstead.

Dana King Jr., 23, of Valley Stream, was charged with manslaughter on Wednesday after a fatal motor vehicle crash in Hempstead early Tuesday morning. (Credit: Newsday / Stefanie Dazio)

The driver in a "super reckless" fatal high-speed chase earlier this week pursued the other vehicle from Valley Stream to Hempstead Village because his ex-girlfriend was a passenger, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Dana King Jr. allegedly waited outside a Valley Stream home until the woman, 25, emerged with her friend, Jimmy Hayes, 22, of Hempstead, Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Dellinger said Wednesday at King's arraignment. 

A verbal dispute had ensued early Tuesday morning between the group before the five-mile chase on local streets and the Southern State Parkway, said Det. Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commander of the Nassau police homicide squad.

King, 23, of Valley Stream, was charged with second-degree manslaughter and arraigned Wednesday morning at First District Court in Hempstead in a courtroom packed with friends and family for him and for Hayes, a father of two young daughters who was killed in the crash.

Police said King, driving a 2009 Audi, rear-ended Hayes' BMW on Baldwin Road in Hempstead, sending the vehicle crashing into a fire hydrant, and then a tree. Hayes was declared dead at the scene.  The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, remained hospitalized in serious condition Wednesday morning. 

Judge Martin Massell set King’s bail at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash, as extra court officers stood watch over the crowd. 

Dellinger said Wednesday that King has two prior domestic incidents involving his ex-girlfriend,  but it was not clear whether he  was arrested in those instances. Massell granted a one-year stay-away order, prohibiting King from going near or contacting her. Police said the men were acquaintances but did not provide details about their relationship.

King’s Rockville Centre attorney, Michael Dergarabedian, said his client is a Nassau Community College basketball player scheduled to graduate in May who has no criminal record.

“He’s got a lot of support here today,” the lawyer said. “Accidents happen.”  

Outside the courtroom, King’s father, Dana King Sr., expressed condolences for the Hayes family.

“I feel bad for the family,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry for their family’s loss.”

The mother of Hayes' daughters cried out, "My baby's father!" several times outside the courtroom, according to his aunt-in-law, Kimberly Phillips, 41, of Freeport.

Phillips said her nephew has a 2-week-old daughter and a 2-year-old daughter who attended the arraignment with other family,  still reeling from the death of Hayes' grandmother five months ago.

“He was a son, he was a father,” Phillips said outside the courthouse. “They’re devastated right now and they want justice.”
 

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