By Greg Wehner
Chace Quinn, 19, of the Shinnecock Reservation, who is accused of striking and killing a truck driver on County Road 39 during the early morning hours of April 4, never stopping at the scene, was arraigned on an 18-count indictment in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Central Islip on Thursday morning.
The indictment includes four counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, four counts of first-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, and other crimes. If convicted, Mr. Quinn faces between 12 and 36 years in prison.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini announced the indictment at the H. Lee Dennison county office building in Hauppauge just a few hours after Mr. Quinn was arraigned in front of Justice Fernando Camacho.
“This is a serious case,” Mr. Sini said. “An individual is dead. There is a family who will never have their loved one come home again.”
Mr. Sini broke down the events of the morning of April 5.
He said Mr. Quinn and his friends were seen on video surveillance having multiple beers and shots at two different bars on the night of April 4. The district attorney also said Mr. Quinn was seen smoking marijuana numerous times throughout the night.
He then got behind the wheel of a 2013 Jeep Wrangler and was observed driving eastbound on County Road 39 “at a very high rate of speed” when he struck 63-year-old Joseph Lynn McAlla of Clifford, Pennsylvania. Upon impact, Mr. McAlla’s leg was severed at the knee and thrown 70 feet from where his body was found.
Mr. McAlla had stepped out of his 18-wheel truck to lock the gate at Southampton Masonry, where he had just made a delivery.
Instead of stopping, Mr. Quinn turned off his headlights and sped off to the Shinnecock Reservation, according to Mr. Sini.
“The three passengers and the defendant looked at the vehicle and inspected it for damage,” Mr. Sini said. “The defendant would later tell multiple individuals that he had hit a deer.
“The driver’s side mirror and front fender flare were missing from the jeep. None of them called 911 and all of them were intoxicated,” Mr. Sini added.
For the next two months, Mr. Quinn evaded police on the reservation, but on May 29, at 2:30 a.m., Mr. Quinn was apprehended as he was attempting to flee the area to Georgia, where he wanted to start a new life.
“At no time did he come forward with regard to the crash,” said Mr. Sini, who also pointed out that Mr. Quinn is believed to be a member of the Bloods street gang.
Mr. Quinn also faces charges of intimidating a witness, tampering with physical evidence, and driving with a suspended license, all felonies, along with misdemeanor charges of circumventing an interlock device, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The eight-week investigation involved multiple agencies, including the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit and State Police Investigative Unit, Suffolk County Police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.
When asked why it took two months to provide a name or description of the person who struck and killed Mr. McAlla, Mr. Sini said his team was working on its grand jury case.
“We’re here today to announce another indictment that was handed down by the grand jury as a result of excellent work of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office vehicular crimes bureau, the New York State Police and the Southampton Town Police Department,” Mr. Sini said. “This is a great example of collaboration among several different agencies.”