The 24-year-old driver involved in a fatal car crash in West Sayville while allegedly fleeing police and sheriff’s deputies after a shoplifting spree at Tanger Outlets is now facing manslaughter and a slew of other charges, it was revealed Friday in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverside.
Cordell Tucker of Brooklyn pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter — which carries a 5- to 15-year sentence — unlawful fleeing of a police officer, assault, reckless endangerment and other charges at his arraignment, prosecutors said.
He is being held in the county jail in Riverside on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail.
Mr. Tucker was initially arrested on shoplifting charges.
The two other alleged thieves, Rashawn Naquan-Smith, 26, and 18-year-old Essence Smith of Troy, N.Y. were also indicted by the grand jury but are only facing grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property charges, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office.
Gail Sacher, 61, of Holbrook was a passenger in a Suburu on June 27 when she and her husband, the driver, were smacked into by Mr. Tucker’s Lincoln Town Car on Lincoln Avenue off Sunrise Highway, authorities said.
She died shortly later at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. Her husband, Alan, was critically injured in the crash.
Assistant District Attorney John Scott Prudenti said the fatal crash was caused by Mr. Tucker’s “complete and utter disregard for the safety of innocent people.” He accused Mr. Tucker of driving at speeds over 100 miles per hour on Sunrise Highway and elsewhere while being pursued by law enforcement.
“The grand jury reviewed the evidence and found the defendant’s driving demonstrated a depraved indifference to human life and that he recklessly caused the death of Mrs. Sacher,” said Mr. Prudenti, the district attorney’s longtime head of the major crime bureau.
The 12-count indictment indicates the trio swiped goods from the True Religion store — a frequent target of shoplifters at Tanger Outlets — before the suspects fled the area via the Long Island Expressway and made their way to the South Shore after police and sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the car.
Riverhead Police had reportedly radioed a description of the car and it was first spotted again a short time later on the LIE by sheriff’s deputies, who were the first to attempt to pull the car over. Suffolk Police later joined in the pursuit, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco’s office has said.
Ms. Smith pleaded not guilty and is being held on $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash.
Mr. Naquan-Smith was still awaiting arraignment as of 1 p.m.
Mr. Tucker’s lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.