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Unlicensed driver kills 1, injures others in wreck

An unlicensed driver, 37, crashed into motorists and a motorcyclist last weekend on the Long Island Expressway, killing one and injuring eight others, police report. Police charged him with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (third degree), driving while ability impaired by drugs and criminal possession of a controlled substance (seventh degree).

According to the Suffolk County authorities, the drugged driver headed west in a Ford pickup truck on the William Floyd Parkway. At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, he lost control of the pickup truck as he approached exit 68 in Shirley and collided with a Honda minivan.

The impact of the crash caused his vehicle to swerve into oncoming traffic. He then slammed into another minivan — this time a Toyota — and then a motorcyclist.

Although first responders arrived quickly and transported a woman in the Toyota minivan to Long Island Medical Center, she soon succumbed to her injuries from the accident.

There were six additional occupants in the Toyota who all needed medical treatment. One woman was taken in critical condition to Southside Hospital.

The motorcyclist also suffered serious injuries and was listed in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Additional reports indicate that the pickup driver, who is from Mastic, was operating "erratically and at a high rate of speed."

The man's New York driver's license was allegedly suspended, and it's reported that he had bottles of both oxycodone and Xanax in his pockets at the time of the fatal collision.

One of his neighbors told a News12 reporter that the man's wife was killed in December 2017 in an accident shortly after giving birth.

The driver of the pickup was taken to Long Island Medical Center with injuries considered to be nonlife-threatening. He was then taken into custody, and arraigned the following Monday. The court set bail at $10,000 and a bond of $25,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, April 9.

While it is apparent that this negligent driver will indeed face criminal penalties for his egregious actions, not all drivers who maim and kill others get arrested and charged. But victims and their survivors can still seek civil justice through the New York civil courts.

Source: New York Daily News, "Drugged-up driver rams into vehicles on Long Island Expressway, leaving one dead and seven more injured," Esha Ray, March 31, 2018

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