Jesus Lugo Santana pleaded guilty in April 2023; was more than three times the legal limit for alcohol
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a Queens man was sentenced yesterday to six to 12 years in prison for a March 2020 head-on drunk driving crash that caused serious physical injuries to four victims.
Jesus Lugo Santana, 51, of Bayside, Queens, pleaded guilty on April 18, 2023, before Judge Caryn Fink to two counts of Aggravated Vehicular Assault (a C felony); Assault in the Second Degree (a D violent felony); and Driving While Intoxicated (an E felony). The defendant was sentenced on November 15, 2023, to six to 12 years in prison.
“This defendant was speeding and highly intoxicated when he slammed head-on into oncoming traffic, seriously injuring four victims,” said DA Donnelly. “The victims’ injuries were so severe that they required extensive physical therapy, surgeries, and one victim remains in a wheelchair to this day. They are lucky to be alive. Santana disregarded the lives of motorists sharing the road with him that night and that decision has cost him his freedom.”
DA Donnelly said that, on March 20, 2020, at approximately 8:24 p.m., the defendant was driving while intoxicated westbound on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset in a black Nissan Murano, near the intersection of Schenk Avenue. At that same time, the victims’ vehicle, a white Hyundai Sonata carrying a driver and three passengers, was driving eastbound.
The defendant was travelling at approximately 71 miles per hour when he lost control of his car, crossed over the double yellow line, and hit the victims head-on. The speed limit on Northern Boulevard is 40 mph.
Santana was trapped inside of his vehicle after the crash. A nearly empty bottle of rum was recovered from inside the Murano.
The four victims were taken to Northwell Health, Long Island Jewish Medical Center with extensive physical injuries, including broken bones, shoulder and leg injuries requiring surgery, as well as spinal and neck injuries.
Three of the victims underwent physical therapy, one for more than a year and a half, and another victim is still wheelchair bound because of ongoing complications from her injuries.
Santana was taken to NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island. The defendant had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .27% approximately an hour and a half after the crash.
Santana was arrested at the scene on Northern Boulevard at 8:55 p.m. by Nassau County Police on March 20, 2020.
The case is being prosecuted by District Court Deputy Bureau Chief Alex DePalo and Deputy Bureau Chief Katie Zizza of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau. The defendant in represented by Dennis Lemke, Esq.