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Posted on: April 27, 2022

Massapequa Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Head-On Drunk Driving Crash

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John Cappello struck 74-year-old Manuela Brugueras’ vehicle on Stewart Avenue, killing her

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced the guilty plea of a Massapequa man in a fatal drunk driving collision on Stewart Avenue in September 2020.

John Cappello, 31, pleaded guilty today before Judge Robert Schwartz to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (a B felony); Manslaughter in the Second Degree (a C felony); and Assault in the Second Degree (a D felony). Cappello is expected to be sentenced to a maximum of seven to fifteen years in prison on July 6, 2022.

“A devastating scene of twisted metal was left in the wake of this fatal head-on collision that took a woman’s life,” said DA Donnelly. “The defendant was highly intoxicated – nearly three times the legal limit – when he veered into oncoming traffic on Stewart Avenue that day. Our thoughts are with the family of Manuela Brugueras as they continue to heal from this tragedy.”

DA Donnelly said, according to the investigation, on September 22, 2020, at approximately 10:39 a.m. near the intersection of Stewart Avenue and Linden Avenue in Bethpage, the defendant, driving a Mitsubishi SUV while highly intoxicated, crossed the double yellow lines on Stewart Avenue and entered northbound oncoming traffic, crashing head-on into 74-year-old Manuela Brugueras’ Nissan SUV. 

The defendant was extricated from the vehicle because of the severity of damage to his car. 

Responding police discovered hypodermic needles and an open pint-sized bottle of blue Pinnacle vodka in the defendant’s vehicle. 

Cappello was arrested at the scene of the crash by detectives of the Nassau County Police Department and was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Brugueras was transported to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Bethpage where she was pronounced deceased. 

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Alexander DePalo and Senior Assistant District Attorney Brooke Salvatore of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau. The defendant is represented by Marc Gann, Esq. 




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