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Drunk Driving Accident Kills Ronkonkoma Man

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An early morning accident this past weekend left one man dead and another facing criminal charges. George Ragotte, 21, of Ronkonkoma, slowed down to avoid an accident on the Long Island Expressway. He was hit from behind by a driver later found to be intoxicated.

Rear-end crashes are usually found to be the fault of the driver in the second vehicle.

The early morning crash involved two BMWs. Ragotte’s 1992 BMW slowed to avoid two cars that had sideswiped each other when he was rear-ended by a 2012 BMW. The driver of that vehicle, Rej Jadeja, 34, of Brooklyn was later charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), second-degree manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and second-degree reckless driving.

Ragotte had to be extracted from his vehicle. He was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a few hours later. Jadeja was taken to an unnamed local hospital. The police did not report on the nature or severity of his injuries, according to news reports.

This is the most recent in a string of drunk driving accidents on Long Island. In a recent blog post, we discussed the status of Suffolk and Nassau counties as the counties with the greatest numbers of drunk driving accidents in New York state. A July article in the New York Times on this topic pointed out that although Long Island counties may have the highest numbers of DWI crashes, these counties are heavily populated and their actual rates of drunk driving crashes are lower than in other counties in New York.

The two counties have also led the state in the number of fatal drunk driving crashes and the number of deaths in drunk driving crashes. Although, as the New York Times article pointed out, when the population and number of licensed drivers is factored in, the two Long Island counties fall to a lower position on the list of drunk driving accidents, they still are high – among the highest in the state.

Can something be done? Increasing penalties won’t really help – the punishment for drunk driving is just as high as elsewhere in the state. It is possible, according to the New York Times writer, that redesigning some of Long Island’s rural roads might reduce the number and rate of drunk driving accidents. However, this is probably only a partial solution to a problem that still puts these two suburban NYC counties high on a list that no one wants to be on.

Our New York City law firm handles cases involving injury or death in accidents caused by impaired drivers. To learn more, call us for a free consultation.