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May 01, 2023
Jhonny Chavarria-Argueta was Driving While Intoxicated and Over 120 Miles Per Hour When He Crashed His Vehicle and Fled the Scene, Leaving His Passenger to Die (SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Jhonny Chavarria-Argueta, 21, of Bay Shore, pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree and other related charges, for speeding 120 mph and driving while intoxicated, which resulted in a crash that killed his passenger, Jessica Gonzalez, 19, of Commack. “This defendant’s selfish actions in driving drunk and speeding resulted in the death of this young woman, who was a defenseless passenger in his vehicle,” said District Attorney Tierney. “The defendant’s selfishness continued even after the crash, when he refused to stay and render her aid, and, instead, cowardly ran away in an attempt to avoid being caught by law enforcement. Thankfully he has been, and will now be off the roads for a substantial time while he sits in prison for his crimes.” According to court documents and the defendant’s admissions during his guilty plea allocution, on September 18, 2022 at approximately 4:20 a.m., Chavarria-Argueta was driving a rented 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe eastbound on the Southern State Parkway in the area of the Robert Moses Causeway near exit 40 after having consumed alcohol. Witnesses observed the defendant drinking alcohol prior to driving the car. 2 Chavarria-Argueta, who was driving at an extremely high rate of speed, lost control of the vehicle and struck the median guardrail causing the vehicle to flip multiple times and finally came to a rest on its nose against the Robert Moses Causeway overpass. Gonzalez, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was ejected from the vehicle and died from injuries sustained in the crash. Following the crash, Chavarria-Argueta climbed out of the vehicle and fled the scene on foot. Prosecutors obtained a warrant to retrieve the black box from Chavarria-Argueta’s vehicle which revealed that he was driving 120 mph within seconds of the time of the crash. On April 20, 2023, Chavarria-Argueta pleaded guilty before Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Judge Timothy P. Mazzei to: ? Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class C felony; ? Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class D felony; ? Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, a Class D felony; ? Driving While Intoxicated, an Unclassified misdemeanor. Chavarria-Argueta is due back in court on June 1, 2023 for sentencing, and faces four to 12 years in prison. He is being represented by Cornell Bouse, Esq. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Raymond Varuolo of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.

Suffolk County PBA
500 Expressway Dr South
Brentwood, NY 11717

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