Jonnathan Santos and Areefeen Hirji were allegedly traveling at approximately 122 MPH at the time of impact
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Muttontown man and Manhasset man were arraigned on grand jury indictment charges related to a fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway in Woodbury in February.
Jonnathan Santos, 20, was arraigned today before Judge Francis Ricigliano on charges of:
Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $75,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court on July 10. If convicted of the top count, the defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison.
Areefeen Hirji, 20, was arraigned on June 13 before Judge Francis Ricigliano on charges of:
Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court July 10. If convicted of the top count, the defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison.
“These defendants used the LIE as their personal race track – and it tragically cost a young man his life,” DA Singas said. “This type of behavior on our roadways will not be tolerated – and my office is committed to prosecuting these cases to the fullest extent the law allows.”
DA Singas said that the following facts are alleged: on February 24 at approximately 11:48pm, Santos was driving a 2015 BMW 528i eastbound on the LIE just west of the overpass for Route 135 while Hirji was driving a 2017 Honda Accord. Both defendants were allegedly driving in and out of the eastbound travel lanes around other vehicles prior to colliding with each other. At the time of impact, the two vehicles were allegedly traveling at approximately 122 MPH. The impact from the collision caused the BMW to spin out and collide with a guardrail and a pickup truck.
The passenger in the backseat driver’s side of the BMW, Giannfranco Peralta, 18, was ejected from the car and died on the scene. Two other passengers in the BMW were treated for minor injuries. It is alleged that Santos was impaired by alcohol and drugs and that Hirji fled the scene. Two days after the incident, Hirji responded to a police precinct, where he initially gave a false statement regarding who was driving the Honda. Hirji later admitted driving.
Assistant District Attorneys Stephanie Dellinger and Katie Zizza of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Santos is represented by Vincent Bianco, Esq. and Hirji is represented by Michael Soshnick, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.