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Driver indicted in 130 mph crash that paralyzed passenger, Nassau DA says

Anthony Chiantella, of Bayville, was charged with multiple

Anthony Chiantella, of Bayville, was charged with multiple felonies in the crash on the Wantagh State Parkway, prosecutors said. Credit: NCDA

High on cocaine and alcohol, a driver who lost control last month on the Wantagh State Parkway at more than 130 mph was charged with multiple felonies after the crash severely injured him and his passenger, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Anthony Chiantella, 27, of Bayville, had a fractured pelvis and a lacerated liver; his passenger, Nicholas Mustakas, 23, is unlikely to walk again, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.

“This defendant endangered the life of every person on the Wantagh State Parkway when he allegedly drove his vehicle both drunk and high at outrageous speeds on the afternoon of Feb. 2,” Singas said. “His 23-year-old passenger was violently thrown from the vehicle and now is unable to walk or use his arms.”

The top count carries a prison term as long as 25 years, prosecutors said.

The felonies Chiantella faces are assault, reckless endangerment and vehicular assault, prosecutors said. He was also charged with misdemeanors: operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs; and a violation: harassment.

Initially, a Singas spokeswoman said, Chiantella only faced two charges: felony assault and a misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated.

Chiantella's lawyer, Robert Schalk of Mineola, said, "We’ve received voluminous discovery from the district attorney’s office. We are in the process of reviewing that discovery to determine whether or not it supports the upgraded charges against Mr. Chiantella."

Chiantella was arraigned before Judge Meryl Berkowitz on Monday. His bail was set at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash. He pleaded not guilty.  His next court appearance is March 18, prosecutors said.

Chiantella and Mustakas, traveling together in the passenger's 2007 Honda Accord, were thrown from the car when Chiantella lost control near Exit W6 about 4:45 p.m., prosecutors said. That exit serves Bellmore and Seaford. 

"The car slid across both northbound lanes, turned 180 degrees, struck the guardrail and began to spin out of control, ejecting both the defendant and his front-seat passenger," Singas said.

Chiantella and Mustakas were treated at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Mustakas shattered his C4 vertebra — in the neck — and suffered collapsed lungs, prosecutors said. 

Mustakas is from Port Jefferson Station, State Police said at the time. After a month in the hospital's intensive care unit, he was transferred to a rehabilitation center in New Jersey, where he requires 24-hour care, prosecutors said.

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