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School safety aide charged in double-fatal on Southern State

A one-car crash on the Southern State Parkway has killed passengers Bryan J. Rivas, 20, and Blossom J. Castro, 22, both of Hempstead, and critically injured the driver, Kervens Boutin, 29, of Hempstead, and two other passengers. State Police say the driver went off the road at high speed in North Merrick and struck a tree. Boutin was charged with reckless driving. Videojournalist: Jim Staubitser (Jan. 27, 2013)

An Elmont man who prosecutors say was drunk, high and speeding when he crashed his car into several trees on the Southern State Parkway in January was arraigned Friday on a host of charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide in the deaths of two of his passengers.

Kervens Boutin, 31, whose legs had to be amputated after the one-car crash, pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond.

Boutin, a school safety aide and father of two young children, declined to comment Friday as family members pushed his wheelchair out of Judge Tammy Robbins' courtroom at the Nassau County Court in Mineola.

"It's horrible," a family member later said.

During the brief arraignment, Nassau prosecutor Michael Bushwack said Boutin was drunk and high on marijuana when he left a house party in Amityville about 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 27 with a woman and three men and headed west.

"Several partygoers implored him not to drive," Bushwack said.

Boutin ignored their pleas, Bushwack said, got behind the wheel of his 2008 Nissan Maxima and drove in excess of 100 mph when he lost control and crashed into a line of trees, near Exit 22.

The stretch of roadway where the accident occurred falls between exits 17 and 30, where nearly 40 people have been killed in crashes in the past six years. Police and automotive safety groups have dubbed that portion of the roadway "Blood Alley."

Bushwack said Boutin's blood-alcohol level was 0.31, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08.

Two passengers -- Bryan J. Rivas, 20, and Blossom J. Castro, 22, both of Hempstead -- were killed immediately. The third and fourth passengers -- Antonio Rivas, 22, also of Hempstead, and Marlo Cabrera, 19, of the Bronx -- were thrown from the car. Prosecutors said Rivas' right leg had to be amputated and Cabrera suffered internal injuries. Both men have since been released from the hospital.

Prosecutors asked the judge to set $500,000 cash bail, but Boutin's attorney, Steven B. Epstein of Garden City, urged her to set it at $100,000, arguing that his client has remained in Nassau since the crash and will return to court to face the charges.

"He didn't flee, judge," Epstein said. "Quite honestly, he can't."

Judge Robbins agreed and set bail at $100,000 bond.

Boutin, who lived in West Hempstead at the time of the crash, has since moved into his sister's home in Elmont, Epstein said. In addition to losing his legs, Boutin's internal organs were "destroyed," Epstein said. Boutin had "multiple" surgeries and is scheduled to have two more, one to reconstruct his bladder and stomach.

John Finch, assistant principal of Roosevelt High School, where Boutin worked, came to court Friday to support his friend.

"He's really devastated over this," Finch said after the arraignment.

The allegations levied against Boutin don't match up with the man Finch said he knows.

"He was a very responsible employee," Finch said.

The grand jury handed up a 28-count indictment against Boutin on June 3. Among the charges are vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated and impaired by drugs.

If convicted, Boutin faces a minimum of 1 to 3 years and a maximum of 81/3 to 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to return to court July 22 for a conference.

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