Michael Bantel charged with killing passenger when driving head-on into pickup truck while impaired by drugs
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced the indictment of a Massapequa man who is charged with driving drugged the wrong way on Sunrise Highway, killing his 28-year-old passenger and injuring the driver that he struck head-on.
Michael Bantel, 27, of Massapequa, was arraigned on the following grand jury indictment charges today:
• Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (a C felony)
• Vehicular Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (a D felony)• Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol & Drugs (an unclassified misdemeanor)
• Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (an unclassified misdemeanor)• Assault in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor)
• Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor)• Reckless Driving (an unclassified misdemeanor)
Acting Supreme Court Justice Teresa Corrigan continued Bantel’s $500,000 bail and ordered him back to court on Aug. 6. If convicted of the top charge, Bantel faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison.
“This defendant’s recklessness cost an innocent young man his life, and endangered the lives and safety of many others,” Acting DA Singas said. “My office will continue to press for the strongest penalties for those who endanger every motorist and pedestrian by driving while impaired by drugs.”
Acting DA Singas said that on May 5 at approximately 4:45 a.m., Bantel was traveling eastbound on Sunrise Highway in Massapequa in a 2005 Nissan Maxima when he drove across the median into oncoming traffic, crashing head-on with a 2014 Ford F-150XLT pickup truck at the Hicksville Road intersection. Bantel’s passenger, 28-year-old Anthony Sylvia, died from the resulting injuries soon after at Nassau University Medical Center. The 37-year-old female driver of the Ford, as well as Bantel, were treated for minor injuries.
Bantel is alleged to have been impaired by more than one narcotic drug.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of Acting DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Bantel is represented by the Legal Aid Society.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.