The Flanders man who police say struck and killed a 55-year-old woman with his truck while drunk in Hampton Bays earlier this month is expected to face felony and misdemeanor charges in Suffolk County Court on Thursday morning. Among them are aggravated vehicular manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter, according to online court documents.
Joseph Perez, 30, was arrested by Southampton Town Police early on the morning of January 5 after, investigators say, he crashed into a parked car on Main Street and then hit Donna Sartori of Middle Island with his Ford F-150. The accident occurred at about 4:20 a.m. while Ms. Sartori was delivering that day’s edition of the New York Daily News.
Mr. Perez’s blood-alcohol content was 0.20 percent at the time of his arrest, or two and a half times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to a report entered into evidence by the prosecution earlier this month.
Mr. Perez, who is being held at the Rikers Island correctional facility after failing to post $175,000 cash bail, and so far has been formally charged only with misdemeanor DWI and a traffic violation, appeared in Southampton Town Justice Court, bearded and bespectacled, last Thursday, January 16. At that time he was bound for Suffolk County Court, where he would face then-undisclosed charges determined by a grand jury.
According to the New York State Unified Court System website, Mr. Perez is scheduled to be arraigned on felony charges of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, two charges of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, as well as misdemeanor charges of aggravated DWI, DWI and reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it, a violation. Mr. Perez is slated to be arraigned by Judge Fernando Camacho at Suffolk County Court in Riverside on Thursday, according to the website.
Mr. Perez’s lawyer, Lane Bubka, said he was not aware of any the charges against his client as of Tuesday morning, and he could not be reached for comment after being informed that the charges were posted online. Suffolk County Court officials could not be reached earlier this week to confirm the charges because of Monday’s holiday and Tuesday’s snowstorm, but an administrator of the WebCrims website confirmed that the information was taken directly from the court’s case management system.
Mr. Perez has no prior DWI arrests, but in 2006 he was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon and sentenced to five years’ probation. He is the single father of a 10-year-old son and was living with his parents while attending Suffolk County Community College at the time of his arrest.
Mr. Bubka said Mr. Perez’s family still is trying to raise money through social media to post a $250,000 bond to get him out of jail. The amount of his bail could change when he is arraigned in county court, he added.
According to posts on his Facebook page, Mr. Perez planned to go to Dream nightclub in Hampton Bays with friends prior to the accident.