Riverhead man sentenced to 2 3/4 to 8 1/4 years in prison for fatal crash in December 2021

A Riverhead man was sentenced Thursday to 2 3/4 to 8 1/4 years in prison after pleading guilty in June to second-degree manslaughter following a fatal crash last year that claimed the life of a passenger in Flanders, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced in a press release.

Santiago Monzon-Archila, 40, was driving at nearly twice the legal drinking limit when the crash occurred at 5 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2021. He crashed through an iron fence, into a parked truck and then through a wood fence. The car went airborne and crashed into a house on Flanders Road.

The DA said responding officer’s estimate the car crashed into the house approximately 10 feet into the air. Mr. Monzon-Archila’s car landed in an upside down position and he was trapped before cutting himself out of his seatbelt.

“This victim’s life was cut short due to this defendant’s decisions, which evinced a total disregard for the safety and well-being of his passenger and other motorists,” said Raymond Tierney, the Suffolk DA, in a statement. “We will continue to crack down on drivers who choose to endanger the citizens of Suffolk County on our roads.”

Mr. Monzon-Archila was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice Richard Horowitz. He was represented by attorney from the Legal Aid Society, Jeremy Mis. He faced up to 15 years in prison.

The vehicle landed upside down at the home in the early morning crash. (Courtesy photo)

Edis Noe Hernandez Nunez, the passenger in the vehicle, was ejected in the crash and later died at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was 36.

The driver told investigators he and Mr. Hernandez Nunez had been drinking beer since 7 p.m. the prior night. Police recovered beer cans at the scene and a search warrant to obtain a blood sample, which was taken one hour after the crash, found the driver had a blood alcohol content of .13%.

The DA said Mr. Monzon-Archila was sentenced to a concurrent 1 to 3 years in prison for second-degree vehicular manslaughter and six months for driving while intoxicated. A concurrent sentence means the time is served on each charge at one time.