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Coram man charged with vehicular manslaughter in Deer Park crash that killed passenger, police say

Suffolk County police at the scene of a

Suffolk County police at the scene of a single-car crash in Deer Park on Jan. 26, 2015, that killed one and left two injured. A Coram man who was the driver in the crash was arrested Friday, April 3, 2015, and charged with vehicular manslaughter and other crimes, Suffolk police said. Photo Credit: Ken Bradbury

A Coram man who was the driver in a January crash that killed his passenger in Deer Park was arrested Friday and charged with vehicular manslaughter and other crimes, Suffolk police said.

Stephan Harbison, 27, was behind the wheel of an Infiniti about 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 when it struck a tree on Straight Path, near Ellensue Drive, police said.

Harbison is expected to be arraigned Saturday on first-degree vehicular manslaughter, first-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated, police said.

In the aftermath of a "chaotic" crash, detectives were trying to determine who was driving, said Det. Lt. Robert Edwards of the First Precinct.

Complicating matters, Harbison gave officers a wrong name, he said, but admitted it shortly after being airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.

Investigators at the time cited speed as a factor, police said.

The arrest came after witness statements pointed to Harbison as the driver, while physical evidence and lab test results, including a court-ordered search warrant for his blood, pointed to him driving while intoxicated, Edwards said.

"It took a while to put it together," Edwards said.

The crash killed Hamzah Abdul-Hakim, 28, of Wyandanch, and critically injured a second passenger, Ismail Latif, also 28 and from Wyandanch, police said.

Abdul-Hakim and Harbison were trapped in the vehicle and extricated by Deer Park Fire Department Rescue, police said. Latif was ejected, police said.

"The scene was so chaotic," Edwards said. The priority was to rescue the men, he said, and figure out who the driver was later.

When police arrested him Friday as he appeared in court on an unrelated case, Harbison was still on crutches, Edwards said.

Latif sustained traumatic brain injury, Edwards said, but has been discharged and is at home.

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