Jordan Randolph at his arraignment before Supreme Court Justice Fernando...

Jordan Randolph at his arraignment before Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho at John P. Cohalan Jr. Courthouse in Central Islip on Jan. 30. He is on trial for vehicular homicide in driving drunk and causing a fatal crash. Credit: /Morgan Campbell

An unlicensed drunken driver with a history of DWI convictions was operating his vehicle “like an absolute missile” when he caused the death of a 27-year-old Hampton Bays man in January 2020, a Suffolk County prosecutor said during closing arguments of a vehicular homicide trial Tuesday.

Jordan Randolph, just two days before the fatal crash, had indicated he was ready to accept a plea deal to a year in jail on charges related to a prior drunken driving conviction. On Jan. 12, 2020, he was driving erratically and trying to avoid arrest when he stepped on the gas to escape police just before the 4 a.m. crash in Shirley, Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Carl Borelli told the jury.

“He turned William Floyd Parkway into his own personal drag strip,” Borelli said of Randolph, who, vehicle data indicated, was driving 137 miles per hour seconds before rear-ending Jonathan Flores-Maldonado’s Ford Escape.

Randolph, 43, of Bellport has been on trial before state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro since Jan. 18. He’s facing 13 charges related to driving drunk and causing the death of Flores-Maldonado, as well resisting arrest. The jury deliberated for about 35 minutes Tuesday and will continue Wednesday.

Randolph has three prior DWI convictions along with convictions for attempted robbery, endangering the welfare of a child and assault. He also has six misdemeanor convictions, Newsday previously reported. His driver's license was suspended due to his prior convictions and he was supposed to have an anti-DWI interlock device on his vehicle.

Randolph's case became a flashpoint in the debate over the state’s bail reform laws, which went into effect the month of the crash.

At trial, prosecutors and witnesses described Randolph as a combative man who spent the evening of the crash drinking and engaging in a pair of fights that were captured by security cameras at Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia. After returning to a friend’s house in the earlier morning hours, Randolph took off in his Cadillac and was spotted by police driving erratically down a rain-soaked William Floyd Parkway, where an officer attempted to stop him.

A series of surveillance videos taken from businesses along the busy corridor and shared at trial showed what prosecutors described as Randolph being followed by a police car, making a U-turn to distance himself from the pursuing officer before slamming into Flores-Maldonado’s SUV. The impact was visible through sparks that appear in the black-and-white footage as the victim’s car was pushed 600 feet along the highway.

“[Flores-Maldonado’s] vehicle slid and scraped down that roadway, sparks lighting up the night like huge fireflies,” said Borelli, who prosecuted the case with Jacob DeLauter.

In his own summation, Randolph’s court-appointed defense attorney, Joseph Hanshe, argued his client was merely a passenger at the time of the crash, referring to a witness he produced who testified to being behind the wheel and fleeing the scene before the pursuing officer stopped at the crash site. Borelli refuted that claim, pointing to DNA samples taken from the driver’s side air bag indicating Randolph was behind the wheel at impact and vehicle data showing the passenger side air bag did not deploy. 

The witness, David Nolan of Queens, is an inmate facing the possibility of life in prison on a murder conviction, who Borelli said was in jail with Randolph when he first reached out to prosecutors nearly two years after the crash to say he was driving. 

At trial, a toxicology expert testified that Randolph’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit 2 1/2 hours after the crash.

Randolph faces a maximum of 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison if convicted on the top count of aggravated vehicular homicide, but could serve life in prison if the court determines him to be a persistent felony offender.

At trial a police officer testified that Randolph commented from the hospital after the fatal crash that the new bail reform law would keep him out of jail.

“I’m gonna be out tomorrow and I will come … find you,” Borelli told the jury in repeating Randolph's alleged remark to the officer.

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