RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Charges have been upgraded against a Suffolk County man accused of boating while intoxicated in a fatal crash.
Brian Andreski, 27, of Dix Hills, had a blood alcohol level of .18, more than twice the legal limit, and had cocaine in his system while behind the controls of a 25-foot catamaran in the Great South Bay on June 23, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
The speedboat slammed into a fishing boat around 4:50 a.m., killing 39-year-old Christopher Mannino, of West Islip, Spota said.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
Mannino, a husband and father of two, was one of five passengers aboard the 38-foot fishing boat, which was on its way to a Mako Shark fishing tournament. None of the other passengers were injured.
Suffolk County Police divers found Mannino’s body about nine hours after he was ejected from the vessel.
Andreski is facing an unprecedented indictment. He is now charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, in addition to boating while intoxicated.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time in Suffolk County and the first time in the State of New York that a person who was operating a boat is being charged with aggravated vehicular homicide,” Spota said.
The charge is a Class-B felony and carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
Mannino’s wife said she is grateful for the upgraded charge.
“I just want justice for my husband,” Michelle Mannino said. “I don’t want him to die in vain. And I want New York to look out on that and make changes.”
Andreski has pleaded not guilty. If he is convicted, higher courts may have to rule on whether a boat fits the legal definition of a motor vehicle, and whether the navigation channel is a public highway, CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Andreski’s 400 horsepower speedboat was seized. The sometime deli clerk-and auto rental manager pleaded not guilty and is held on $500,000 bond.
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