A Lindenhurst carpenter is facing a more serious aggravated vehicular homicide charge in a drunken driving crash that killed a woman and injured her husband and son.
A conviction on the top count now could send Ryan Gurecki, 35, who was initially charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, to prison for up to 25 years, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Gurecki pleaded not guilty yesterday at his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip. He is also charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of felony driving while intoxicated, among other offenses.
On June 26, Gurecki slammed his 2010 Ford Explorer into the back of Karen Holden’s vehicle, authorities said. Her 2016 Ford Escape, stopped at a red light on westbound Jericho Turnpike, was waiting to turn left onto Route 110 near Huntington Station.
Holden, a registered nurse, was killed in the collision. Her husband, William, 57, who was driving, suffered a head injury. Their youngest son, Robert, 23, was injured in his back.
Gurecki’s blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.13 percent — well above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, authorities said. He told police at the scene that he had drunk five beers at work earlier that day.
Yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Trish Brosco told State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho that marijuana was also in Gurecki’s system at the time of the crash. Police found 13 empty Heineken bottles in his SUV.
Brosco said Gurecki has a “horrific” driving record that includes 13 license suspensions and five accidents, including a crash last Christmas Eve in which he flipped his vehicle, injuring his passenger.
Gurecki was convicted of DWI in 2006, Brosco said.
Camacho increased Gurecki’s bail on the new charges to $350,000 cash or $750,000 bond, up from $250,000 cash.
Friends and relatives of the victims packed the courtroom, some with photographs of Karen Holden pinned to their clothes.
William Holden sobbed as prosecutors reviewed the facts of the case.
Afterward, Lynne Pallmeyer, 53, of East Northport remembered her sister as “just amazing and wonderful.”
Defense lawyer Daniel Sullivan of Central Islip said outside court that Gurecki was full of remorse. He described his client as a “hardworking” father of two, including a newborn.