At a 2 p.m. press briefing in Assembly Hall on Friday at the Nassau County Police Department headquarters, Det. Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Homicide Squad, told reporters that Michael Deangelo, the man responsible for the appalling crash in Massapequa on Sunday evening of Aug. 6, had been formally arrested and was being arraigned.
The crash killed 60-year-old Patrice Huntley of Flushing and two of his children, 13-year-old Hannah and 10-year-old Jeremiah Huntley, who lived with their mother, Tashiba Hamilton-Huntley, in Uniondale.
Huntley’s 18-year-old stepdaughter and 6-year-old granddaughter, Chantel Solomon, were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
Fitzpatrick said that Deangelo, 32, of N. Monroe Ave. in Lindenhurst, was speeding at 120.55 miles per hour when his white Hyundai Kona smashed into the back of Huntley’s car, which was stopped at a red light near a shopping center at 5598 Sunrise Highway.
That section of Sunrise Highway has a speed limit of 45 miles per hour.
Blood toxicology showed that Deangelo was driving with cocaine and fentanyl in his system.
“His behavior prior to the accident, his reckless driving, all contributed to causing this accident and killing three people,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that it was not yet known where Deangelo had been prior to the crash.
The rumor that Deangelo was drag racing owed to confusion, Fitzpatrick explained.
In fact, as Patrice Huntley was driving west, Deangelo had sped past Huntley’s car, turned briefly into a Speedway station, then reentered the road after the Huntleys had passed. Moments later came the fatal crash.
Deangelo remains in a local hospital awaiting surgery for compound fractures to a lower extremity and internal injuries. However, he is stable and alert, Fitzpatrick said.
“He’s been arrested three times prior,” said Fitzpatrick. “He has two prior DWI arrests. He also has a grand larceny arrest back in 2015. The first DWI was adjudicated to a violation, the second was a misdemeanor, which makes this arrest a felony. … He’s being arraigned right now as we speak at a bedside arraignment, and we’ll find out if he’s remanded or not.”
The charges leveled against Deangelo are three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one for each fatality; three counts of manslaughter in the second degree, one for each fatality; eight counts of assault; two counts of driving while intoxicated with drugs in his system; and one count of reckless driving.
The 18-year-old has come through several surgeries and is conscious, said Fitzpatrick, but her condition remains critical.
Of six-year-old Chantel Solomon, said Fitzpatrick, “She’s undergoing certain scans and testing to see what brain activity is still left. … We’re still hoping and praying for her.”
Charges against Deangelo would be elevated if Chantel were to die, Fitzpatrick said.
Sadly, Chantel was removed from life support with the permission of her mother on Saturday afternoon, and pronounced dead. Further charges against Deangelo have yet to be announced.
The GoFundMe page started by Hamilton-Huntley and a friend, Raja Shah, can be accessed at https://gofund.me/e44a43c2.