The scene of the fatal car crash on Middle Country Road in...

The scene of the fatal car crash on Middle Country Road in Centereach on May 4. Credit: Neil Miller

The teenager who authorities say was speeding in a stolen Range Rover when he caused a fatal crash in Centereach in May was ordered held Wednesday on $250,000 bail.

Identified as Matthew Papile, 16, in court records, he next faces a June 17 hearing for a judge to decide if he will be tried in Suffolk County's Family Court or the youth part of the county's criminal court.

Papile faces aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter and other charges including driving while ability impaired by drugs, an allegation Papile’s lawyer said has not been proved. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 13 to 39 years in prison if treated as an adult and 4 to 12 years as a youthful offender, prosecutors said in a Central Islip courtroom. Papile has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have alleged that “the defendant was operating a stolen vehicle, allegedly recklessly, had an accident with another vehicle causing the death of a woman and causing traumatic brain injury to her son,” said Judge Karen Kerr Wednesday, explaining her decision to set bail because of the risk Papile could flee.

Papile's lawyer, Sean Dixon, said his client posed “absolutely no risk of flight.” He said his client, a high school sophomore, was living with his grandmother, did not have a passport and was wearing a GPS-equipped ankle bracelet. “He’s fully compliant,” Dixon said. Dixon did not respond to an interview request.

Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney James Curtin, describing the events that led to Papile’s May 4 arrest, told the court Papile was “driving a stolen vehicle on Middle Country Road in Centereach at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic.”

Curtin said that Papile crashed twice — the first time into property, the second time, farther east, into the rear end of a Toyota operated by Marion Napolitano, 73. That crash, he said, propelled her vehicle off the road, “killing her and injuring her son.” Napolitano’s son, whom Curtin did not name, required “lifesaving” brain surgery after the crash and was recently released from Stony Brook University Hospital, Curtin said. Newsday has previously reported his age as 50.

Papile, dressed in black, said nothing audible during the hearing and did not appear to react near its end as court officers cuffed his hands behind his back.

As Curtin gave the possible sentences and Kerr announced the terms of bail, a woman who had been sitting with Papile gasped and lowered her forehead to the courtroom bench. In the hallway outside, she and a man who had also sat with Papile declined to comment.

In an online fundraiser for Napolitano's burial, a Lake Ronkonkoma woman, Carrie Herbstman, wrote that Napolitano was her mother. She said Napolitano loved “gardening, flowers, animals (especially cats), horror movies” and talking with customers at the mall where she worked. Her brother, James, faces “a long recovery,” she wrote. In an interview, Herbstman confirmed her identity but did not immediately agree to speak on the record.

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