A motorist who authorities said killed one person and injured six others in July when he drove head-on into their minivan was charged with 30 criminal counts — including seven counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter — in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Suffolk County Court.
Glenn Zaleski, 36, had been charged with driving while intoxicated before charges were upgraded. Authorities said the Greenport resident was intoxicated when he crossed the yellow line while driving his 2016 Dodge pickup east on Route 48 in Greenport and slammed into a minivan. The minivan driver, Youfeng Yang, 51, of Flushing, Queens, was killed in the crash and six passengers in the vehicle were injured.
“We hope this indictment serves as a stark reminder to Suffolk County residents about the extreme dangers of drunk driving,” said Brendan Ahern, chief of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s vehicular crime bureau.
Ahern said both vehicles were traveling at more than 50 mph when the crash occurred.
“This was a massive collision, which resulted in severe injuries and death to the occupants,” Ahern added.
Zaleski pleaded not guilty to the new charges at arraignment in state Supreme Court in Central Islip on Wednesday. Judge Fernando Camacho kept Zaleski’s bail at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond and ordered him to return to court Jan. 28.
Authorities said Zaleski previously had been convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2009 in Southold.
When Zaleski’s blood was analyzed at a hospital, his blood alcohol content was 0.23 percent, assistant district attorney Ray Varuolo said during the arraignment. The BAC limit in New York State is .08 percent. Zaleski told investigators after the crash that he had consumed six to eight beers at a family party and then slept in his truck before driving.
“I certainly can’t speak to the veracity of that,” Ahern said after Wednesday’s arraignment. “We work based on the forensic toxicology here, which showed a much higher level of blood alcohol than six to eight beers perhaps would support.”
Zaleski’s attorney, Anthony Rutkowski, of Southampton, said his client has expressed remorse for the crash.
“This case serves as yet another stark reminder of the potentially fatal consequences of drinking and driving,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said. “Especially now during the holiday season, we want to remind drivers that getting behind the wheel while drunk is extremely dangerous, it’s illegal, and it’s completely avoidable.”