A Medford husband and wife have been indicted on legally novel charges of acting together to commit the crime of hitting and killing two people and leaving the scene of the crash.
Normally in fatal hit-and-run crashes, only the driver in the crash is charged. But in this case, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Shaun McCready said both Kathy Horan, 62, the driver in the Feb. 19 crash, and her husband Frank Horan, 68, are criminally liable for the deaths. He is being charged as an accomplice because he drove his wife away from the crash on Granny Road in Medford, McCready said.
Their lawyers, however, said the law doesn’t permit such an indictment. They both pleaded not guilty Monday.
“We challenge the validity of that theory,” said Brendan Ahern, Frank Horan’s attorney.
McCready said Kathy Horan, a bookkeeper, was driving east on Granny Road when she hit a small group of people inspecting damage from another accident that had just happened. Peter Quoma, 28, of Selden had gotten out of his car after hitting a parked car. Horan’s car knocked him to the ground and he died from head injuries suffered when he hit the pavement, McCready said.
The owner of the parked car, Lynn May, 58, of Lake Grove, was pinned against her car. She died from her injuries eight days later.
McCready said the Horans got out after their crash and saw what had happened.
“Frank Horan told his wife to get in the car,” McCready said. “He drove her to their house.”
State Supreme Court Justice John Collins set bail at $150,000 bond for each defendant, which they posted. They face a maximum of 2 1⁄3 to 7 years in prison if convicted.
Collins noted that both defendants have attorneys from the same Hauppauge law firm, which could lead to a conflict of interest — particularly if Frank Horan, an engineer, argues in a motion that he can’t be held criminally liable, unlike his wife.
“Your motion could create conflict,” Collins told Ahern. “Your firm may have to decide which Horan you’re to represent.”
Kathy Horan’s attorney, Anthony La Pinta, said he and Ahern have discussed the possible conflict with their clients.
“It’s very unique,” La Pinta said of the case. “There is no binding legal precedent to support charging Mr. Horan.”
Kathy Horan had been charged since soon after the incident. Frank Horan was charged only in the indictment unsealed at Monday’s arraignment.