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Apr 5, 2017 11:11 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Driver In Hill Street Crash Will Be Arraigned Next Week After Grand Jury Examines Case

The February 1 crash on Hill Street in Southampton Village.  DANA SHAW
Apr 8, 2017 11:26 AM

The driver who crashed head-on into another vehicle on Hill Street in Southampton Village on February 1, leaving one person dead and another critically injured, is expected to be arraigned in Islip next week, though the criminal charges he will face are still unknown.

Colin Astarita, the Southampton-based attorney representing Jacob Alegria, 27, of Southampton, said on Wednesday that he anticipates his client might be charged with criminally negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter, noting that the district attorney’s view of the accident relies heavily on eyewitness accounts. Mr. Alegria will turn himself in for arraignment next Wednesday, April 12, according to Mr. Astarita.

A grand jury had been hearing the case in recent weeks and appears set to hand up an indictment, though the details of that indictment, including the charges recommended by the grand jury, remain sealed until the arraignment. The Suffolk County district attorney’s office would not comment.

On the day of the accident, witnesses said they saw Mr. Alegria driving westbound in a 2008 Lexus R35 at nearly three times the posted speed limit of 25 mph on the residential street. While driving in the oncoming lane, he slammed into a luxury SUV that had just turned into the eastbound lane from a side street.

The crash killed 20-year-old Charlotte Meyer of Germany, who was a passenger in the eastbound vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, Luisa “Lulu” S. Keszler, 26, of Southampton, was thrown nearly 30 yards by the impact. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital and is still recovering from her injuries.

Mr. Astarita said that after Mr. Alegria went through a series of medical examinations following the crash, it was revealed that he has a significant cyst on his brain—which can, and has been, causing seizures. The attorney had previously suggested that a medical condition could be part of his client’s defense, and explanation for the crash.

“Based on these findings, and Jacob’s memory of what happened, it’s apparent that the accident was not caused by reckless driving,” Mr. Astarita said. “In the weeks to come, we will be providing additional information in support of that view, which we hope, at the very least, will help all of the families involved understand what happened.”

After the accident, witnesses said Mr. Alegria did not appear to be intoxicated but seemed scared. He also told one witness he was confused.

Witnesses said Mr. Alegria never tried to leave the scene and appeared to cooperate with the police.

“Jacob is totally distraught and has expressed over and over again that, regardless of the outcome, he feels responsible for the pain and suffering of the Meyer and Keszler families,” Mr. Astarita said. “He expressed his sorrow and extends his deepest sympathies to them.”

Mr. Astarita said Mr. Alegria has written letters and asked if it was appropriate to reach out to the families, but was told to wait until after the proceedings to make direct contact with them.

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