Wrong-Way Crash Killed Two People, Seriously Injured Another
A Freeport man was sentenced to up to 21 years in prison for a November 2022 wrong-way drunk driving crash that killed two men and seriously injured another in Massapequa Park.
Juan De Leon Collado, 30, pleaded guilty in November 2023 before Judge Howard Sturim to aggravated vehicular homicide (a B felony); second-degree assault (a D violent felony); and aggravated driving while intoxicated (an unclassified misdemeanor). The defendant was sentenced on January 29 to seven to 21 years in prison.
On November 6, 2022, at approximately 4:23 a.m., the defendant was driving a 2003 Honda CRV westbound in the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway in Massapequa Park near Park Boulevard while intoxicated and at a high rate of speed. Collado’s cousin, 29-year-old Amaury Ramirez Lora, was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
Collado continued driving in the wrong direction on Sunrise Highway for approximately half a mile before striking a 2022 Honda Civic head-on driven by a 28-year-old man and carrying 24-year-old victim passenger, Nicholas Berardino Jr. Both vehicles sustained extensive damage in the crash.
Berardino Jr. was pronounced deceased at the scene by Nassau County Police Department medics at 4:40 a.m. The driver of the victim’s vehicle suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured hip, and was transported to Nassau University Medical Center. Lora was trapped inside the Honda CRV and had to be extricated from the vehicle. The victim succumbed to his injuries on November 20, 2022, at NUMC. The defendant was unconscious after the crash, removed by authorities, and transported to NUMC for injuries, including internal bleeding.
Collado had been drinking at a local sports bar in Farmingdale prior to the crash.
The defendant was arrested on November 6, 2022, by members of the NCPD.
“The moment he turned the key to his car, Juan De Leon Collado condemned two innocent men to die,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly. “Collado had been drinking much of the evening at a sports bar in Farmingdale when he stepped behind the wheel and careened down Sunrise Highway straight into oncoming traffic. Nicholas Berardino Jr., and Collado’s own cousin, Amaury Ramirez Lora, were killed in the crash. Drunk driving is at epidemic levels on Long Island. NCDA continues to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law to remind drivers everywhere: drunk driving costs lives.”