RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Suffolk County judge has found a man guilty of manslaughter, not murder, in a deadly wrong-way crash two years ago.
On Dec. 23, 2015, 56-year-old Christopher O’Brien was driving the wrong way down Sunrise Highway when he crashed and killed 57-year-old Thomas D’Eletto, who was on his way to work that foggy morning, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.READ MORE: Gov. Hochul: No Known Cases Of New COVID Variant 'Omicron' In New York
Prosecutors called the case a Christmas nightmare.
“This was an individual doing the right thing two days before Christmas, regular morning commute. Because of that defendant, Thomas D’Eletto was taken from us and from his family,” said prosecutor Marc Lindemann.READ MORE: Depleted Islanders' Losing Streak Grows To 8 Games After Shutout Loss To Penguins
Prosecutors said O’Brien was drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the crash.
He was charged with murder, but the judge in a bench trial found him guilty of manslaughter instead.
“The defendant was driving with aggression, with anger. The defendant was fresh from a fight with his girlfriend,” Lindemann said. “In the defendant’s own words, the defendant had five cans of beer in his glove compartment and an empty can of beer in the back seat.”MORE NEWS: Booker, Suns Blast Knicks, Run Winning Streak To 15 Games
O’Brien faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.