A Queens man faces a slew of charges — including criminally negligent homicide — after authorities say he drove away from a crash in late January on the Nassau Expressway that killed an East Atlantic Beach resident standing on the road’s shoulder helping another motorist.
Kevin Drawhorne, 27, of Jamaica, Queens, was arraigned Wednesday on charges that also included leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it, speeding and driving without a license, Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement Thursday.
The 8 p.m. crash on Jan. 29 led to the death of Michael Agurkis, 51, who Katz called a "good Samaritan." Drawhorne was behind the wheel of a 2012 Ford Econoline van traveling about 70 mph at the time of the crash, officials said.
"A man who was doing a good deed — helping another driver with car trouble — was senselessly killed by another motorist allegedly driving at a high rate of speed," Katz said. "That driver allegedly fled the scene. He did not call 911. He did not stop to help. This kind of behavior is not only callous, but also criminal and the defendant now faces serious charges."
Drawhorne pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Queens court and was held on bail of $75,000 cash or bond.
His attorney could not be reached for comment.
Agurkis’ father, George Agurkis, 73, of Bay Shore, said Thursday his son’s death was a reflection of how he lived life. "This is how Michael was brought up and that’s how he was. He would help anybody," George Agurkis said. He added: "I just want justice."
The younger Agurkis worked as a gas technician, his father said, and was the father of three grown-up children.
On the night of the crash, authorities said a driver, who was not identified, pulled his 2001 Dodge Caravan over onto the shoulder of the Nassau Expressway, near North Hangar Road in Queens. Shortly after that, Agurkis, driving a 2005 Audi A6, pulled over to help the Caravan’s driver.
That’s when Drawhorne "crashed into the minivan and struck both men on the side of the road," Katz said. Prosecutors said Agurkis was "knocked to the ground and sustained severe injuries to his torso." He was pronounced dead later at a Queens hospital.
The second pedestrian reported leg pain but declined medical attention at the scene, prosecutors said.