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Melville man faces manslaughter charge in drunken crash

Edward Okon, 49, of Melville, was arrested by

Edward Okon, 49, of Melville, was arrested by Suffolk County police and charged with DWI after he was involved in a crash that killed a motorcyclist on Wellwood Avenue in East Farmingdale on July 23, 2016. Credit: Suffolk County Police Department

A Melville man has been indicted on charges of killing a motorcyclist while driving drunk and leaving the scene of the East Farmingdale crash.

Edward Okon, 49, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree vehicular manslaughter and other charges in the July 23 death of Tomasz Myszke, 39, of Copiague.

Okon, a project manager for a commercial contractor, was headed north in his pickup truck on Wellwood Road at about 11:15 p.m. and turned left in front of Myszke on to Conklin Street. Assistant District Attorney Raymond Varuolo said Okon drove at least 200 yards “even after the air bags deployed” while construction workers franticly tried to get him to stop.

The crash happened just south of the Long Island Rail Road tracks in the middle of an extensive construction zone.

Varuolo said Okon admitted drinking earlier at a party and a breath test showed he had a 0.18-percent blood-alcohol level — more than twice the legal standard of 0.08 percent.

Defense attorney Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge said some of the charges, particularly the accusation of leaving the scene of the crash, made no sense. He noted that the lead police investigator testified at a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing that Okon never left the scene, and that police didn’t charge him with that crime at the time of the arrest.

Ahern said his client pulled over as soon as he safely could in the midst of the construction, which may have played a role in the crash.

“With the construction lighting, it’s a dangerous setting for single-headlight vehicles,” Ahern said after court.

He suggested that prosecutors added the leaving the scene charge to bolster a weak vehicular manslaughter case. “I think they have challenges,” he said.

Varuolo asked state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho to set bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond, noting that Okon now faces a maximum of 3 2⁄3 to 11 years in prison if convicted. Okon had been free on a $25,000 bond since the arrest, and Ahern asked Camacho to leave the bail unchanged.

Camacho set bail at $100,000 bond, which Okon posted.

Family members of both men were present in the Central Islip court and declined to comment afterward.

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