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Posted on: July 27, 2023

Freeport Man Indicted for Fatal Wrong-Way DWI Crash in Massapequa Park

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Juan De Leon Collado was allegedly intoxicated and driving the wrong way on Sunrise Highway when he crashed into another vehicle, killing the victim driver and his own passenger

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a Freeport man was arraigned today for a November 2022 wrong-way drunk driving crash that killed two men and seriously injured another in Massapequa Park.

Juan De Leon Collado, 30, was arraigned today before Judge Howard Sturim on three counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (a B felony); three counts of Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree (a C felony); two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree (a C felony); two counts of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree (a D felony); three counts of Assault in the Second Degree (a D felony); Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree (an A misdemeanor); Reckless Driving (an unclassified misdemeanor); Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (an unclassified misdemeanor); and two counts of Driving While Intoxicated (an unclassified misdemeanor).  

The defendant pleaded not guilty, and bail was set at $250,000 cash, $500,000 bond or $2.5 million partially secured bond. He is due back in court on August 17. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.

“Nicholas Berardino and his cousin were returning home from a local diner when the defendant allegedly came speeding at them on the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into their car,” said DA Donnelly. “Collado had allegedly been drinking at a local bar before he got behind the wheel. That reckless decision cost two young lives. Too often my prosecutors are consoling the families of victims who have died at the hands of drunk drivers. We are committed to rigorously prosecuting anyone who makes the selfish choice to drink and drive.” 

DA Donnelly said that, according to the charges, on November 6, 2022, at approximately 4:23 a.m., the defendant was allegedly driving a 2003 Honda CRV westbound in the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway in Massapequa Park near Park Boulevard while intoxicated and at a high rate of speed. Collado’s cousin, 29-year-old Amaury Ramirez Lora, was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. 

The defendant continued driving in the wrong direction on Sunrise Highway for approximately a half-mile before striking a 2022 Honda Civic head-on driven by a 28-year-old man and carrying 24-year-old victim passenger Nicholas Berardino.

Both vehicles sustained extensive damage in the crash.

Berardino was pronounced deceased at the scene by Nassau County Police Department medics at 4:40 a.m.

The driver of the victim vehicle suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured hip, and was transported to Nassau University Medical Center.

Lora was trapped inside the Honda CRV and had to be extricated from the vehicle. The victim succumbed to his injuries on November 20, 2022, at NUMC.

The defendant was unconscious after the crash, removed by authorities, and transported to NUMC for injuries, including internal bleeding.

Collado was allegedly drinking at a local sports bar in Farmingdale prior to the crash. 

The defendant was arrested on November 6, 2022, by members of the NCPD.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Vota of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau. Collado is represented by Evans Prieston, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty. 


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