Riverhead Man Pleads Guilty to Fatal DWI Crash

Santiago Monzon-Archila pleaded guilty to a fatal DWI
Santiago Monzon-Archila pleaded guilty to a fatal DWI

A Riverhead man has admitted to driving drunk, crashing into a house and killing his 36-year-old passenger who was ejected from the vehicle last year.

Santiago Monzon-Archila pleaded guilty Thursday at Suffolk County court to charges of second-degree manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

“This tragedy could have been avoided if the defendant didn’t drive drunk, period,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “Instead, he chose to endanger Suffolk County residents through his reckless conduct and in the process caused the death of his passenger.”

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old man was driving with nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he lost control of his vehicle on Flanders Road, crashed through an iron fence, hit a parked truck, went through a wood fence that caused the car to go airborne an estimated 10 feet in the air and into a house on Flanders Road at about 5 a.m. on December 17, 2021.

The car landed upside down with the defendant trapped inside. Responding officers watched as Monzon-Archila cut himself out of the driver’s seatbelt, authorities said. His passenger, Edis Noe Hernandez Nunez, was later pronounced dead at Peconic Bay Medical Center.

Monzon-Archila admitted to police that he and Edis had been drinking beer since 7 p.m. the night before, according to investigators, who recovered beer cans at the crash scene. He was found to have a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.13%, well above the legal limit of .08, nearly an hour after the crash, prosecutors added.

Monzon-Archila faces up to 15 years in prison when Judge Richard I. Horowitz is scheduled to sentence the driver on July 22.

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