The driver who allegedly caused a crash in East Massapequa on Aug. 6 that killed four and injured two, all members of a family from Uniondale, was arraigned last week, and pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, including six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The driver, Michael DeAngelo, 32, of Lindenhurst, appeared before Acting Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Robert Schwartz, and is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 19. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years behind bars.
In addition to the aggravated vehicular homicide charges, prosecutors allege that DeAngelo was under the influence of cocaine and fentanyl at the time of the accident. He was also charged with three counts of second-degree manslaughter, six counts of second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault, two counts of driving while impaired by drugs and one count of reckless driving.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly has said she was committed to pursuing justice for the family of Patrice, Jeremiah and Hannah Huntley and Patrice’s 6-year-old step-granddaughter, Chantel Solomon, and the entire community that is feeling the impact of this disaster.
“Patrice Huntley and three children — members of the same family — were killed due to the extraordinarily reckless actions of a defendant who was allegedly driving 120 miles an hour while impaired by cocaine and fentanyl,” Donnelly said. “No one was safe on Sunrise Highway that Sunday evening. … No family should ever have to bury four loved ones at the same time, and my office will vigorously prosecute this case to ensure justice for Patrice’s family, friends, and community.”
According to Nassau County police, 60-year-old Patrice Huntley was driving a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, which was also carrying five of his family members, when he stopped at a traffic light at the corner of Sunrise Highway and Unqua Road in East Massapequa at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 6. DeAngelo, who was driving another SUV, a 2023 Hyundai Kona, allegedly crashed into the rear of Huntley’s vehicle at 95 mph. The impact pushed the Santa Fe through the intersection, where it spun around until it was facing oncoming traffic, while the Kona went airborne, striking other vehicles that were stopped at the light, and landed upside down.
According to the event data recorder inside the Kona, DeAngelo was driving approximately 120 mph, and did not brake until less than a half-second before the impact.
Huntley, a veteran of the Marines, was celebrating a recent job offer, and had taken his family out for ice cream. He was pronounced dead at the scene, as were his daughter, Hannah, 13, and his son Jeremiah, 10.
Huntley’s 18-year-old stepdaughter, Brienna Peoples, and his step-granddaughter, Chantel Solomon, suffered catastrophic injuries. His 14-year-old son David was also injured.
Chantel died six days later.
At the crash scene, police observed signs of drug use by DeAngelo, including track marks on his arm and hands. Needles and a pipe were discovered in and around his vehicle.
DeAngelo was taken to the Nassau University Medical Center, where he was treated for serious leg injuries. Officers of the Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad arrested him in his hospital room on Aug. 11.
Deputy Chief Katie Zizza of the district attorney’s office’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case, while DeAngelo is being represented by attorney Karl Seman.