A Huntington Station man pleaded guilty in a 2021 Laurel Hollow crash that left another motorist with life-threatening injuries including a bruised lung and internal bleeding, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said Monday.

A release from Donnelly’s office said Rafael Melara, 37, faces five to nine years in prison after pleading guilty before Nassau County Court Judge Caryn Fink to felony charges of vehicular assault, assault and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Sentencing is scheduled September 28. 

Donnelly said the July 19, 2021 crash occurred as Melara, trying to navigate a bend in the road eastbound on Northern Boulevard near the Moores Hill Road intersection, lost control of his 2017 Nissan Rogue.

“Driving in broad daylight on a stretch of winding road with nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system, Melara slammed head-on into oncoming traffic,” Donnelly said. Merlara collided with the victim’s 2013 Honda Civic and both vehicles then struck a bus traveling west on Northern Blvd. 

The victim, who had emergency surgery at Nassau University Medical Center, has recovered. The bus driver was uninjured. 

Nassau County and Oyster Bay Cove Police arrested Melara after the crash, according to the release. 

Lawyers for Melara could not be reached Monday night. 

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