[Original Pub Date, May 29, 2018. Updated June 5, 2018]
Chace Quinn, 19, the Southampton teen prosecutors say was caught on camera drinking alcohol in a Hampton Bays bar, then driving a 2013 Jeep Wrangler that struck and killed a man on County Road 39 in April, is being held at the Suffolk County jail in Riverhead in lieu of $1 million cash bail.
If Quinn is able to post bail, he will be required to wear a global-positioning ankle bracelet for law enforcement tracking purposes.
Quinn, who allegedly has ties to the Bloods gang, hit 63-year-old deliveryman Joseph Lynn McAlla in the early hours of April 5, leaving him to die in the street, a Suffolk prosecutor said in court on May 29.
Video surveillance showed Quinn drinking at Bays Bar and Grill, where he consumed numerous alcoholic drinks over a few hours, before leaving in a Jeep headed east toward Southampton, according to Assistant District Attorney Maggie Bopp.
The same Jeep can later be seen on video striking McAlla as he closed a gate at Southampton Masonry, where he was making a delivery, severing his leg in the process. McAlla was “left in the street to die,” Bopp said during Quinn’s arraignment in Southampton Justice Court before Justice Barbara Wilson.
Quinn, who had been on the lam from law enforcement since a fight shortly before the fatal car crash, was arrested on a warrant and charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, both felonies.
Hauled into the court in handcuffs, Quinn wore rumpled clothes including a gray hoodie sweatshirt, black sweatpants, and a pair of Nikes. His words were barely audible when he spoke to his attorney, Peter Smith of Northport, who entered a not guilty plea for him.
Quinn had evaded the law for two months, Bopp said. Along with his associates, Quinn was involved in a fight at Bays Bar, where two men suffered serious injuries, including a broken nose, orbital socket, and fractured teeth, for which he was charged with second-degree gang assault, she added.
After the fatal car crash, Quinn changed his cell phone number several times and went as far as to threaten a “potential witness” on March 16, placing a handgun on the victim’s lap, “placing that individual in fear of their life,” Bopp said. For this incident, Quinn was additionally charged with menacing.
Quinn was also charged with second-degree obstruction of governmental administration by Southampton Village Police for using his car to block an unmarked police car, which was involved in a high speed chase, from entering the Shinnecock Indian Reservation to follow a suspect back in December.
In her summary, Bopp noted Quinn has a 15-page rap sheet, with “multiple contacts with the criminal justice system.” Charges on Quinn’s record include a driving while intoxicated conviction at 17 years old, along with second-degree assault as a youthful offender for which he served one year in jail, she said.
Judge Wilson, who apparently presided over previous cases of Quinn’s, admonished him, reminding him that his grandmother, who attended the arraignment, has always been at his side in court.
“I wish you could have listened to some of the sage advice she has offered over the years,” Wilson said.
Wilson went on to tell Quinn she believes his grandmother would do anything for him, then told him about the 1970s police drama, “Baretta,” in which the main character’s catch phrase was that bad guys end up dead or in jail.
“Your grandmother doesn’t want either of those for you. I hope you figure that out,” she said.
Quinn’s grandmother, and a female friend from the Shinnecock Indian Reservation, declined to speak with a reporter as they exited the courthouse following his arraignment.
Smith, who is privately retained, could offer no background on Quinn, but noted that Quinn “stands presumed innocent on all the charges.” Smith will be conducting his own investigation. “I do offer condolences to the family of Joseph McAlla,” he added.
Three orders of protection were issued against Quinn, two for the victims injured in the fight at Bays Bar and Grill. It is not clear who the third order of protection is for.
On the top charge of first-degree vehicular manslaughter, Quinn faces up to 15 years in a state prison if convicted.
Quinn’s arrest was the result of a joint investigation by Southampton Town and New York State police, the U.S. Marshall Service, and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Quinn, a minor at the time, was arrested in March 2016 for shooting three men in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Southampton Village. After the shooting, residents organized a Neighborhood Watch group and requested that police install video surveillance cameras to address quality-of-life concerns last year.
The investigation into Quinn is continuing. Southampton Town Police ask anyone with information to contact their detective squad at 631-702-2230.