Driver Pleads Not Guilty Following Fatal Patchogue Collision

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A Medford man pleaded not guilty last Wednesday, July 17, to six counts stemming from a fatal two-car collision in Patchogue in April.

Justin Klein, 23, is accused of driving a pickup truck on Sills Road under the influence of both morphine and alprazolam, a generic form of Xanax, when he ran a red light at Gazzola Drive and broadsided a sedan being driven by Camille Ricciardo, 71. Ms. Ricciardo, who lived in Southampton and Sag Harbor, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to a copy of the indictment provided by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office, Mr. Klein was arrested by Suffolk County Police and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and second-degreee manslaughter, both felonies, as well as seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and driving while under a combined influence of drugs, two misdemeanors. He was also charged with speeding and running a red light, violations.

At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of a quantity of heroin, Mr. Spota’s office said.

Following the accident, Mr. Klein was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

After pleading not guilty in Suffolk County Court in Central Islip last week, Mr. Klein was remanded to the Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court next on August 13.

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