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Sotirios Spanos pleads not guilty in DWI crash that killed Odalis and Ismenia Urena on Long Island

Suspect pleads not guilty in DWI crash that killed couple on Long Island
Suspect pleads not guilty in DWI crash that killed couple on Long Island 02:23

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- A Nassau County man accused in a high-speed DWI crash that killed a husband and wife was arraigned Tuesday on vehicular homicide charges.

Tears overwhelmed a Mineola courthouse. Distraught friends and neighbors joined two sets of parents seeking justice for their their 37-year-old son and daughter, Ismenia and Odalis Urena. The married couple were victims of a deadly crash, said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

"Our roads are literally turning red with the blood of innocent people," Donnelly said.

The accused, 33-year-old Sotirios Spanos of Syosset, allegedly was driving 100 mph with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he crossed into the opposite lanes of traffic on winding Northern Boulevard through Laurel Hollow in August when he struck the married couple's Ferrari head on.

The husband and wife victims left behind two young daughters.

"They miss their parents dearly," said Crismairy Rodriguez, the victim's sister, "but I think Ismenia and Odalis did a phenomenal job raising those two girls. They raised two strong Wonder Women."

The couple was just minutes from the Muttontown home they built a year ago when they lost their lives. Ismenia had just published a book, and her husband owned a construction company.

"They miss both father and mother. It's very sad," said Pedro Urena, the victim's father.

Spanos, a married father who works in a law firm, pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges that could result in up to 25 years in prison. Priests from his church came in support.

"Two families are trying to survive that tragedy and figure out what happened and why it happened. It takes time," defense attorney Steve Epstein said.

The defense pointed to evidence that showed the victim, Odalis Urena, also had alcohol in his system, but the DA is adamant- he was in his lane when the defendant crossed over the line.

"We believe it was an avoidable tragedy. We are here seeking justice," Urena family attorney Ted Stamas said.

"Their two young children no longer have a mother or a father. It is a life sentence for this family," Donnelly added.

The DA said somewhere the drunk driving message has been lost. The week the Urena couple was killed 11 people in cars, crossing streets, or riding bikes were killed in Nassau County.

The orphaned children, ages 8 and 14, are now being raised by the extended Urena family.

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