HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man charged in a crash that claimed the life of a mother of two said nothing as a judge set bail at $250,000 during his arraignment Monday.

The crash happened just before 9:30 p.m. Sunday on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.

Ryan Gurecki, 34, was driving a Ford Explorer westbound on Jericho Turnpike when he struck a Ford Escape that was stopped at a red light while waiting to turn left onto Route 110, police said. Gurecki’s car then sideswiped another vehicle, a Honda Odyssey, that was also waiting to make a left turn before crashing into a tree, police said.

The impact killed 56-year-old Karen Holden, who was sitting in the back seat of the Ford Escape, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.

Karen Holden

Karen Holden (Credit: CBS2)

Her husband, 57-year-old William Holden, suffered a head injury while her son, 23-year-old Robert Holden, suffered a back injury. Both were listed in stable condition at Huntington Hospital.

The driver of the Honda was not hurt.

Gurecki pleaded not guilty to driving while intoxicated. Prosecutors said he admitted to drinking five beers before the crash and that the Lindenhurst man has two prior alcohol arrests.

Gurecki’s attorney Michael Gajdos called the incident “an accident.”

“There’s no proof of anything else,” Gajdos said.

Neighbors said the Holden family was heading to Virginia to visit their eldest son, Kenny, who is in the armed forces.

“What a nice family, just ruined, crushed,” neighbor Marge Essopos said. “What a shame. Beautiful family.”

“Nicer people there aren’t,” said neighbor Richard Greenwald.

The family dog, Maverick, jumped out of the car in all of the commotion. Neighbors and friends found the dog and reunited him with the victim’s eldest son who rushed back home from Virginia after the crash.

Police said all three vehicles have been impounded for safety checks. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555.


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