The teenager who was arrested in a fatal hit-and-run on County Road 39 in Southampton is facing upgraded charges — including four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide — following an 18-count indictment unsealed in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Central Islip this morning.
Chace Quinn, 19, of the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, pleaded not guilty to charges he was behind the wheel of a 2013 Jeep that struck a 63-year-old Pennsylvania delivery driver, Joseph McAlla, leaving him to die on the roadway.
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Maggie Bopp said Quinn had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to hitting McAlla on April 5. The prosecutor said Quinn was speeding when his vehicle struck McAlla, as he crossed County Road 39 to close the gate at a Southampton masonry company, where he had just made a delivery. She said McAlla’s leg was severed by the force of the impact, and he suffered “additional blunt force trauma.”
Based on the top charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, a felony, Quinn faces up to 25 years in prison.
“This defendant never slowed down, this defendant never stopped,” Bopp said. “He just left [Joseph McAlla] to die in the roadway.”
Prosecutor Brendan Ahearn asked the court to determine if Quinn’s attorney, Peter Smith of Northport, should continue to represent him, because during its investigation the DA’s office learned that Smith had met with some witnesses in the case and had been retained by some of them.
Smith described the charges against Quinn as allegations and said that he had met with some members of the reservation because they believed that investigators had been “heavy-handed” in their investigation and wanted to know what their rights were.
Smith said the DA “probably may want me off the case because they know that I am going to do a good job.”
Quinn’s family did not attend the court proceeding, but met with Smith afterward. They declined to speak with a reporter when asked for comment.
Quinn also faces four counts of vehicular manslaughter, as well as a count each of manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident with an injury, and tampering with physical evidence, and two counts of intimidating a witness.
Other charges include driving while intoxicated, driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol, driving with a suspended license, circumventing an interlock device, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Quinn was taken back to the county jail in Riverside, where he is being held in lieu of $1.7 million bail. He is due back in court on July 11.