Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly at a news conference...

Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly at a news conference in early June. Credit: Tom Lambui

A Hempstead man was charged with manslaughter and other charges for allegedly driving drunk and crashing his vehicle into a pole in Uniondale in February, killing one passenger and injuring another, Nassau prosecutors said.

Elvin Maradiaga Ortiz, 33, was arraigned Tuesday on several charges, including second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident and driving while intoxicated. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded.

According to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, around 5 a.m. on Feb. 24, Maradiaga Ortiz was driving a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee west on Jerusalem Avenue in Uniondale while intoxicated. Ortiz had two passengers in his vehicle.

The defendant drove off the roadway, hitting a pole and flipping his vehicle, officials said. Prosecutors said after the collision, the defendant fled the scene on foot, leaving his backseat passenger, 35-year-old Alex Banegas Figueroa, unconscious in the Jeep.

Banegas Figueroa was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was pronounced dead a week later. The surviving passenger suffered head and right shoulder pain and a laceration to his head, officials said.

Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said the investigation used surveillance video to “piece together” Maradiaga Ortiz’s movements before the fatal crash, placing him at a bar where he spent hours “excessively drinking.” Allegedly, the defendant then decided to get behind the wheel, where he veered off the roadway and crashed, the district attorney said.

“There is no excuse for drinking and driving,” Donnelly said in a news release. “It is a decision that can have catastrophic consequences and can cost someone their life.”

Maradiaga Ortiz was arrested by the Nassau County Police Department on March 21. If convicted of the charges, he faces  up to 15 years in prison, prosecutors said.

In 2015, Maradiaga Ortiz was convicted of felony assault and misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to the charges and was incarcerated for a year, online court records show.

He is due back in court on July 18 on the latest charges.

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