Mattituck man sentenced to 4-12 years in prison for fatal DWI crash in Riverhead

Matthew Nemschick of Mattituck was sentenced to 4-12 years at the Suffolk County correctional facility for striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Riverhead last year.

The sentencing was administered by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Braslow on Wednesday morning in Riverside.

A remorseful Mr. Nemschick addressed Judge Braslow and those in attendance in the court on Wednesday.

“I’m sorry to the victims. I know that my apology doesn’t mean much but I’m sorry. Taking someone’s life isn’t something I ever wanted to do,” he said. “I pray for them every day.”

Prosecutors originally offered the defendant — who faced a potential sentence of 25 years in prison — a plea deal of 6 to 18 years.

Assistant district attorney Ray Varuolo said that Mr. Lopez Guzman’s family were not present at the sentencing because they found it “too painful” to attend but that they provided a statement that was not read publicly in court.

Judge Braslow said his decision was made after a lengthy review of a pre-sentencing report. Letters from various addiction specialists corroborated the efforts Mr. Nemschick has made while incarcerated this past year to show how much he regrets his actions. One of the letters was from the director of the Suffolk Sheriff Department’s addiction treatment center Colleen McKenna.

“I’m not minimizing this,” the judge said. “I’m going to impart a lesser sentence but it’s still serious.” 

The crash occurred on Feb. 11, 2021, around 10 p.m. near 953 West Main Street in downtown Riverhead. Police reported that the victim, 38-year-old Alexander Lopez Guzman, was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he later died.

Officials said that after the crash, Mr. Nemschick attempted to clear his vehicle of empty beer cans. Prosecutors said that he had double the legal limit of blood alcohol content more than three hours later.

Mr. Nemschick had pleaded guilty in May to aggravated vehicular homicide along with six other charges from the grand jury.

Judge Braslow said Wednesday that Mr. Nemschick’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least a year once he’s released from prison.

“I’m not sure you’re ever going to get your license back,” he said.

Mr. Nemschick said he’s grateful for his family’s loving support through this, saying his children have been visiting monthly and he said he’s been attending weekly church services in jail.

Judge Braslow said Mr. Nemschick’s efforts are visible.

“I’m going to wish you good luck, but you look like a different person,” he said. “I’m pleased that you’ve taken these steps to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

He previously worked as an electrician on Plum Island.