The Greenport man charged with drunken driving in the fatal crash Sunday morning had a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent — nearly three times the legal limit — according to Suffolk County assistant district attorney Ray Varuolo.
Glenn Zaleski, 36, was arraigned in Southold Town Justice Court Monday. Mr. Zaleski admitted to police that he drank six beers prior to the 8:30 a.m. crash in Greenport that killed one person and injured six others, Mr. Varuolo told the court.
Mr. Zaleski was driving a 2016 Dodge pick-up truck eastbound on Route 48 near Chapel Lane when he crossed over into westbound traffic and struck a minivan with seven occupants, according to police. He was charged with felony driving while intoxicated and suffered only minor injuries in the crash, police said.
Witnesses said Mr. Zaleski swerved to the right of the road and overcorrected, crossing the double yellow line at “a high rate of speed” into the minivan. The force of the collision pushed the minivan off the road, Mr. Varuolo stated.
The driver of the van, You Feng Yang, 51, of Flushing was pronounced dead two hours later at Stony Brook University Hospital. Two passengers in the van were also airlifted to Stony Brook for treatment of serious injuries. The other four passengers, all adults from Flushing, were treated at local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
Mr. Zaleski failed a field sobriety test and consented to a blood alcohol test, Mr. Varuolo said. Mr. Zaleski could face the upgraded charge of aggravated vehicular homicide that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in jail.
Mr. Zaleski’s lawyer, Anthony Rutkowski, entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf and requested bail be set at $25,000, noting Mr. Zaleski is a resident of Southold Town who works locally.
Bail was set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond by judge Eileen Powers.
Mr. Zaleski pleaded guilty to DWI in 2009 and was ordered to enter a substance abuse rehabilitation program, according to prior Suffolk Times story. His license was revoked for six months at the time and he was fined $1,000.
Mr. Zaleski’s family and friends, who were sitting in the courtroom, declined comment. As he was escorted out of the courtroom, Mr. Zaleski yelled out for them to care for his dogs.
The crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the New York State Police Department, police said.
Mr. Zaleski is due back in court Friday.
Top photo caption: Glenn Zaleski arriving at Southold Town Justice Court on Monday. (Krysten Massa photo)
Editor’s Note: This post was updated with additional information on a 2009 DWI.