A 20-year-old Bay Shore man is facing manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and other charges in connection with a September drunken-driving crash on the Southern State Parkway that killed a front-seat passenger, authorities said Wednesday.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced the indictment of the driver, Jhonny Chavarria-Argueta, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, second-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting.
Authorities said Chavarria-Argueta was driving a rented 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe eastbound on the Southern State Parkway at “an extremely high rate of speed” near Exit 40 at 4:20 a.m. on Sept. 18, when he lost control and struck a median guardrail. The vehicle flipped “multiple times,” ejecting front-seat passenger Jessica Gonzalez, 20, who died from her injuries, authorities said.
In a statement announcing the indictment, the district attorney’s office said that following the crash Chavarria-Argueta “climbed out of the vehicle,” which came to a rest with its nose against the Robert Moses Causeway overpass, and fled.
“The acts allegedly committed by the defendant were reckless, callous and irresponsible,” Tierney said in the statement, adding: “Not only did he allegedly drive drunk and crash at a high rate of speed, he demonstrated an utter lack of compassion when he left his passenger to die alone rather than remain at the scene to render aid and seek assistance.”
Chavarria-Argueta was arraigned Wednesday before state Supreme Court Justice Timothy P. Mazzei, who ordered him held on $500,000 cash, $1 million bond or $10 million partially secured bond, and ordered his driver's license be suspended.
It was not clear if Chavarria-Argueta is represented by counsel. He is due back in court Dec. 20.