Long Island

‘Extraordinary Tragedy:' Man Indicted in NY Crash That Killed 3 Family Members

The three women who died were the grandmother, aunt and cousin of the little girl whose 16th birthday they celebrated before they got in a car for what would be the last time

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A 22-year-old Long Island man was arraigned Monday on grand jury indictment charges for allegedly killing three members of a family and injuring another three in an alcohol-fueled high-speed crash earlier this year, prosecutors said.

Dante Lennon was allegedly speeding and too drunk to drive when his Mercedes Benz broadsided a Lincoln Town Car, then rear-ended a parked pickup truck on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park on May 21. The family had just left a Sweet Sixteen.

The force of the impact killed three women -- the grandmother, aunt and cousin of the girl who just celebrated her 16th birthday. Two of the victims, 66-year-old Marlene Liu and 68-year-old Ho Hua, were from the Woodside neighborhood in Queens; the third, 41-year-old Tu Nguyen, was from North Carolina.

The survivors in the Town Car were all men between the ages of 42 and 67, prosecutors said.

Lennon pleaded not guilty at a virtual arraignment at a hospital where he was treated shortly after the crash. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top charge. Attorney information wasn't clear.

"It was supposed to be a day of celebration for a family and a young woman turning 16, but the tragic events of that evening will have a ripple effect for generations to come," Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement. "The defendant is accused of a dangerous combination of speed and intoxication when he allegedly barreled down Jericho Turnpike and t-boned a car carrying six family members. This is an extraordinary tragedy, and we will aggressively prosecute Dante Lennon for his alleged actions."

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