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Police: Driver high, fled scene in crash that killed Shirley man

Kendell Owens, 31, of Middle Island, is led

Kendell Owens, 31, of Middle Island, is led out of the Seventh Precinct in Shirley Wednesday morning, Aug. 12, 2015. Owens was arrested and charged Tuesday night with driving while ability impaired by drugs and with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a fatality, police said. Photo Credit: James Carbone / Chris Sabella

A driver trying to evade a traffic stop who told authorities he was high on PCP and marijuana caused a four-car crash in Shirley that killed one man and left six people hospitalized with minor injuries, authorities said.

Kendell Owens, 31, of Middle Island, was arrested and charged late Tuesday with driving while ability impaired by drugs and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting a fatality.

Owens was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond at his arraignment Wednesday in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip. He did not enter a plea.

While being escorted to a jail van, Owens told News 12 Long Island he was sorry for his actions.

"I'm so sorry to the family," he said. "I'm a good kid."

Suffolk police said Wednesday Owens drove away from an unmarked police officer trying to pull him over because a headlight was out. The police car made a U-turn and tried to stop him on Montauk Highway just west of William Floyd Parkway with his lights and siren on when Owens drove off.

Moments later, Owens, driving east in a 2005 Infiniti G35, struck the 2006 Chrysler Sebring driven north on William Floyd by Richard Garcia, 45, of Shirley, who was killed in the crash.

"Immediately following the crash, the subject [Owens] climbed out of his vehicle and fled on foot," police said. He was caught after a foot chase.

Alyssa Toth, 23, of Mastic, was treated at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center for minor injuries after her 2013 Chevrolet Cruze hit Garcia's car, police said.

A 2011 BMW X6 sport utility vehicle carrying five people, including an infant boy and a 2-year-old girl, was struck by the first two vehicles as it traveled west on Montauk Highway, police said. The SUV's driver, identified as Xavier Patino, 37, of Queens, and his four passengers all were taken to the hospital for observation, police said.

Police said Owens also was taken to Brookhaven Memorial for treatment of minor injuries.

Police said all the vehicles involved were impounded for safety checks and detectives said anyone with information about the crash could call the vehicular crime unit at 631-852-6555.

Prosecutors said Owens told investigators he was high on both PCP and marijuana.

Owens' lawyer, Matthew Tuohy of Hauppauge, told reporters his client denies fleeing and "maintains his innocence."

Prosecutors said the results of Owens' blood test could lead to upgraded charges. He now faces up to 7 years in prison.

Owens remained at the Suffolk County jail Wednesday.

With Ellen Yan, Candice Ruud and John Valenti


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