Jury selection starts for Flanders man charged in fatal crash


Jury selection in the trial of a Flanders man accused of aggravated vehicular homicide last year after allegedly hitting and killing a woman while driving drunk has begun in Central Islip, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Joseph Perez, 31, has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and a slew of other charges in connection with the incident.

Prosecutors allege that early on Jan. 5, 2014, Mr. Perez — the single father of a 10-year-old son — left the Dream Nightclub and crashed his F-150 pickup truck into a parked car. District Attorney Thomas Spota said Mr. Perez kept driving, speeding westbound on Montauk Highway into Hampton Bays.

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Mr. Perez then allegedly drove onto the shoulder of the road near the Ponquogue Avenue intersection, hit a parked car which struck another vehicle and its driver, 56-year-old Donna Sartori of Middle Island, who was delivering newspapers.

Ms. Sartori was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. Spota said Mr. Perez’s blood alcohol level was measured to be more than double the legal limit soon after the crash. If convicted of the top charge, Mr. Perez could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

The District Attorney’s Office could not say how long jury selection would last.

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