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Driver of crash that killed Riverhead family facing upgraded charges

The driver in a February crash that caused the death of four members of a Riverhead family has been arraigned on a 42-count indictment that includes a top charge of depraved indifference murder. 

Suffolk County police said Jamel Turner, 23, was driving a stolen 2018 Chevrolet Camaro at about 11:20 a.m. February 14 when he struck a 2012 Mazda on Middle Country Road in Ridge. The Camaro then struck an oil truck traveling westbound and the Mazda struck a 1999 Infiniti traveling eastbound, prosecutors said.

Four occupants of the Mazda — Jacquelyn McCoy of Calverton, her daughter MaryAlice Booker, her son Anthony McCoy and his girlfriend, Tameka Foster — were killed in the crash. All four had lived in the Riverhead area.

“The passengers in the Mazda suffered blunt force trauma that’s beyond imagination, however those individuals did not die from the impact,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said at a press conference announcing the upgraded charges last Thursday. “Instead the crash was so intense that the car literally exploded and those four individuals burned to death.”

Lonidell Skinner, 19, of Bellport, who was a passenger in the vehicle driven by Mr. Turner, was ejected and also killed in the crash. A fifth victim, who was not identified, suffered serious injuries, Mr. Sini said. Mr. Turner’s dog also died in the crash.

Jamel Turner

Mr. Turner faces a total of 37  felony charges, including manslaughter-recklessly causing death,  unlawfully fleeing a police officer and assault with intent to injure, among other charges. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday.

At a press conference announcing the charges, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said Mr. Turner, who was attempting to flee police, was driving 154 mph “immediately prior to impact.”

“That is faster than commercial jets go to take off,” Mr. Sini said.

Mr. Turner had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of false personation, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and reckless endangerment in the second degree.

He is being held in lieu of $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond.

Top Caption: The scene of the February crash. (Credit: Stringer News)