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Brooklyn DA: 2 Drivers Indicted Over Death Of Passenger In DWI Crash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For the first time in Brooklyn, two drivers have been charged in the death of a single passenger following an alcohol-fueled crash, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said Wednesday.

The men have been named in a 26-count indictment that includes second-degree manslaughter charges stemming from an early morning accident on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights that killed a female passenger.

"These defendants - who are strangers to one another - tragically took the life of a young woman when they both made absolutely the wrong decision to drink and drive. We will now hold them accountable for their fatal conduct," said DA Thompson.

Richard Roman-Santos and Gerrard Herbert, both 32 years old and of Brooklyn, are facing charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, operating a motor vehicle while impaired, third-degree assault, reckless driving, second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and several other violations. They were arraigned on Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

According to the DA's office, Roman-Santos was driving at about 90 mph westbound on Eastern Parkway near Troy Avenue at around 4:15 a.m. on Aug. 17 while Herbert was driving eastbound on the roadway. The two collided when Herbert made a left turn onto Troy Avenue in front of Roman-Santos.

Michelle Mignott, 32, was laying down in the rear seat of Herbert's car at the time and was crushed by the impact of the crash. She died on the way to the hospital, the DA's office said.

Another passenger in Herbert's car who was seated in the front passenger seat suffered burns and bruises.

Thompson's office said Herbert refused a breathalyzer test, but a warrant for his blood was obtained and his blood alcohol level tested at .07 seven hours after the crash, putting his blood alcohol level at approximately .18 to .20 at the time of the crash.

Roman-Santos registered a blood alcohol level of .08 at the scene, officials said.

Roman-Santos's bail was continued at $35,000 bond or $20,000 cash and Herbert's bail was continued at $30,000 bond or $5,000 cash.

Both men were ordered to surrender their passports and their licenses have been suspended.

They are expected back in court on Dec. 17. If convicted on the manslaughter charge, both could face up to 15 years in prison.

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