A Ronkonkoma man was killed and another man was charged with manslaughter in a four-car crash on the Long Island Expressway in Plainview early Saturday, Nassau County police said.
Two vehicles were heading east on the LIE, east of Sunnyside Boulevard at 2:13 a.m. when they sideswiped each other. Both vehicles were disabled -- one stopping in the right lane and the other against the center divider, police said.
George Ragotte, 21, driving a 1992 BMW sedan east on the LIE, slowed to avoid the initial accident when his car was hit from behind by a 2012 BMW sedan driven by Raj Jadeja, 34, of Brooklyn, police said.
Ragotte was extricated from his car and taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where police said he was pronounced dead at 6 a.m.
Ragotte was on his way home from his girlfriend's house in Levittown when he was killed, his family said.
"We want people to remember him for everything," said his father, Steven Bottega. "Me and his mother brought him up very well; we sat down for dinner every night, that's the kind of family we came from."
Jadeja and both operators of the vehicles in the initial accident were taken to local hospitals for treatment, police said.
Jadeja was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving and driving while intoxicated, police said. He was scheduled to be arraigned Sunday at First District Court in Hempstead.
The eastbound LIE, between Exits 46 and 48 in Plainview, was closed for nearly seven hours after the accident. Authorities described the scene as a "mess;" photos showed several mangled vehicles along the side of the expressway.
A GoFundMe page set up for Ragotte after his death describes him as "an amazing son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, boyfriend and friend." At the top of the page, a bearded Ragotte grins in a backward baseball cap.
The fundraising page listed a goal of $10,000 to help pay for funeral costs. At 5 p.m., GoFundMe said $1,090 had been raised by 16 people.
Ragotte, a 2012 Sachem North High School graduate who worked as a diesel automotive mechanic, had a 15-year-old sister, Samantha Bottega, his family said.
"He was "a good, kindhearted young man," said his mother, Joan Bottega. Her son raced BMX bicycles and cars and wanted to be professional race car driver, she said.
"He loved the smell of rubber," his mother said.
With Darran Simon