A Long Island man has been found guilty of causing a car crash that left his friend paralyzed.
Anthony Chiantella, age 27, of Bayville, was convicted on Thursday, April 15, for the February 2019 crash on the Wantagh State Parkway shortly after jury members were shown a video of him bragging about breaking the law.
The crash took place around 4:41 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, when Chiantella, who was drunk and under the influence of cocaine, was driving 24-year-old Nicholas Mustakas’ 2007 Honda Accord at more than 130 miles per hour northbound on the Wantagh State Parkway when he lost control of the vehicle near Exit W6 and crashed, ejecting both men, said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Both Chiantella and Mustakas were transported to Nassau University Medical Center following the crash. Mustakas was left a quadriplegic after shattering his C-4 vertebra and suffering collapsed lungs, the DA's Office said.
He remained in Nassau University Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit for one month following the accident and is unlikely to walk again.
Jurors found him guilty of:
- Vehicular assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Along with other offenses that included drunken driving and driving under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug.
The jury deliberated for just two hours before rendering their verdict. The defendant faces a potential maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.
“Anthony Chiantella is the epitome of a depraved driver, broadcasting himself driving 130 mph while drinking and high on cocaine, resulting in a crash that paralyzed his passenger and threatened the lives of everyone in his path.
“He was recorded saying he knows that people die in crashes – it is just luck that he did not take the lives of innocent drivers on the road with him. We respect the jury’s verdict finding him guilty on all counts," Singas said.
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