Two drivers who were allegedly weaving in and out of late-night traffic at “approximately 122 mph” when they crashed in February on the Long Island Expressway in Woodbury have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges in the death of a passenger, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Jonnathan Santos, 20, of Manhasset, was arraigned Wednesday before Judge Francis Ricigliano in Nassau County Court and ordered held on $100,000 bond or $75,000 cash bail and was given a return date of July 10. Additional arraignment details were not available.
The other driver, Areefeen Hirji, 20, of Muttontown, was arraigned before Ricigliano on June 13, pleading not guilty — and was released on $100,000 bond, according to court records.
Santos was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree reckless endangerment, fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and reckless driving.
He faces 5 to 15 years in state prison if convicted of the top count, authorities said.
Hirji also was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and second-degree reckless endangerment. He was also charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it, reckless driving and with making a punishable false written statement. He also faces 5 to 15 years in prison and is due back in court on July 10.
The crash occurred on the eastbound LIE west of the overpass for Route 135, the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, on Feb. 24 at 11:48 p.m., authorities said.
Santos was driving a 2015 BMW 528i; Hirji, a 2017 Honda Accord. Singas said that before the crash, both drivers “were allegedly driving in and out of the eastbound travel lanes around other vehicles” — and then collided with each other. The impact caused the BMW driven by Santos to crash into a guardrail and a Toyota pickup truck.
Giannfranco Peralta, 18, of Manhasset, a backseat passenger in the BMW, was ejected from the car — and died at the scene.
Two other passengers were treated for minor injuries.
Singas said that Santos was impaired by alcohol and drugs at the time of the crash. She said Hirji fled the scene in his car, but responded to a police precinct two days after the crash — at which time, she said, he “initially gave a false statement regarding who was driving the Honda.” He later admitted driving, she said.
In a release announcing the indictments Wednesday, Singas said the vehicles had been traveling “at approximately 122 mph” at the time of the crash.
“These defendants used the LIE as their personal racetrack — and it tragically cost a young man his life,” Singas said in a statement, adding: “This type of behavior on our roadways will not be tolerated — and my office is committed to prosecuting these cases to the fullest extent the law allows.”