We see a lot of car accident cases at our Long Island law office, and those involving young kids speed racing--often late at night and sometimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol--are the worst. This past week, two cars drag racing on the Long Island Expressway were clocked at going more than 140 mph just before they fled off the highway at Exit 58 in Islandia. One car, a Dodge Neon driven by 20-year-old Joseph Skarka of Central Islip, crashed into the gas pumps of a Gulf station and erupted into a fireball. The other car, a Lancer driven by Jeffrey Browne, 21, of Bohemia, crashed to halt in a Hooters parking lot. Both cars carried passengers, all men between ages 19 and 21. Miraculously, there were no fatalities and only minor injuries in this incident. But had they hesitated in leaving the exploding car, collided with another car on the road, or a hit a bystander at the gas station, the consequences would have been far worse.
"I don't think I've ever seen someone that fast...especially this time of year when they're doing roadwork, when there's potholes. One hole at that speed...and, well, it's over," sheriff's spokesman Chief Michael Sharkey said. "It's insane."
Drag racing is not just dangerous-it's often deadly. Road surfaces, crowd control, and safety measures are not present. Most drag racers occur at night, when visibility may be poor. In addition, most cars are not equipped for the high speeds that drag racers reach. Street racing may provide a short thrill for a driver, but it can be deadly not only to him, but to his passengers, innocent bystanders, and first responders. A decision to race a car on a public street could lead to someone losing their son, daughter, mother, or father.
Skarka and Browne were each charged with engaging in an unlawful speed contest, second-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, criminal mischief, unlawful fleeing from a police officer and speeding, police said. But lucky for them, they are both alive and not facing a homicide charge.
If you see drag racers on the street, immediately get as far out of their path as possible and call the police. If you or someone in your family has been injured due to a drag racer, you may be entitled to compensation. Have questions? Contact the experienced lawyers at Goldstein and Bashner. We'll sit down with you for a completely free consultation and answer any questions you have. We've handled many accidents on Long Island and in New York City and will help you get the compensation you deserve.