Man pleads guilty in fatal wrong-way car wreck in Massapequa Park


NASSAU COUNTY, LONG iSLAND – A man has pleaded guilty in connection with a fatal car accident on Long Island a year ago, Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced.

30-year-old Juan De Leon Collado of Freeport was charged in the Nov. 6, 2022 incident in Massapequa Park.  Prosecutors said Collado was driving a 2003 Honda CRV west in the eastbound lanes of Sunrise Highway near Park Boulevard at about 4:23 a.m. while intoxicated and at a high rate of speed.

He continued going the wrong way for about a half mile and crashed head-on into a 2022 Honda Civic.

A passenger in the Civic, 24-year-old Nicholas Berardino Jr., died at the scene.  Collado’s cousin and passenger, 29-year-old Amaury Ramirez Lora, was extricated from the Honda CRV and died of his injuries about two weeks later.  The driver of the Civic, a 28-year-old man, was hospitalized with extensive injuries.

Collado was injured in the crash and taken to Nassau University Medical Center.  He had been drinking at a local sports bar in Farmingdale prior to the crash, authorities said.

Collado pleaded guilty on Monday to aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated.

“Two families were forever changed when the defendant made the reckless decision to drive after drinking at a local sports bar,” said District Attorney Donnelly. “Juan De Leon Collado sped down Sunrise Highway into oncoming traffic and slammed into another vehicle, killing Nicholas Berardino Jr. and seriously injuring Nicholas’s cousin. Collado’s own cousin, Amaury Ramirez Lora, was also killed in the crash. Driving drunk is never the right choice, and on this night, it cost two innocent young lives.”

Collado is expected to be sentenced to 7 to 21 years in prison on January 29, 2024.

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