A Babylon man has been charged with murder after Suffolk County authorities said he drove drunk at 100 mph when he crashed into a teenager’s SUV, killing her in Lindenhurst last month.
A grand jury indicted Michael Grasing on the rare murder charge in a drunken driving case, as well as 10 other counts. The 31-year-old pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
“Brittney Walsh never had a chance,” District Attorney Thomas Spota told reporters at a news conference after the court hearing in Riverhead. “Grasing clearly had a total disregard for the value of any human life.”
He said the 18-year-old Lindenhurst woman was driving home from her job at K-Mart when Grasing crashed his Nissan Maxima into the back of her Kia Sportage, causing it to flip over and hit a utility pole on Sunday, June 24.
Walsh had graduated from Copiague High School three days prior and had her graduation party the day before the wreck.
Prosecutors said Grasing had a blood alcohol content nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent when he blew two red lights, weaved through the opposite lanes of traffic and drove on the sidewalk at one point.
Although uncommon, Grasing is not the first face a murder charge in a driving while intoxicated case on Long Island.
Martin Heidgen was convicted of murder in Nassau County after driving the wrong way on the Meadowbrook State Parkway in 2005, killing a limousine driver and a 7-year-old girl in a wedding party. Heidgen is serving 19 years in prison but is appealing that conviction.
Bail for Grasing was set at $1 million. He was also charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, DWI, failure to stop at a signal, failure to stay in lane and speeding.
If convicted of murder, he could face a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. His attorney, Daniel Russo, reportedly declined to comment.
-With Associated Press.