A Commack man pleaded guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving for his role in a street racing crash that killed a Huntington Station man.
On November 19, 2022, at approximately 8:45 p.m., Jesus Bonilla was operating a 2009 Honda sedan westbound on Jericho Turnpike when he began racing a Saab SUV allegedly operated by co-defendant Jared Cooper. Witnesses observed both vehicles driving side by side at high rates of speed, running red lights, and crossing into oncoming traffic. The victim, James Beck, 57, was struck by Bonilla’s vehicle while he was walking across Jericho Turnpike at the intersection of Totten Avenue in Huntington Station. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Crash reconstruction determined that Bonilla, 21, was driving 79 mph in a 40-mph zone at the time he struck the victim.
On February 8, 2024, Bonilla pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony, and reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor, before Supreme Court Judge Richard Ambro.
Bonilla is due back in court for sentencing on April 4, 2024, and faces up to two to six years in prison.
Cooper’s case is still pending.
“James Beck’s death was completely avoidable and occurred because this defendant recklessly engaged in street racing with another driver,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “Suffolk County’s roadways are not racetracks. Anyone caught driving recklessly and jeopardizing the lives of other motorists or pedestrians will be held accountable.”