Trial Begins For Alleged Drunk Driver Charged In Crash That Killed Long Island Teen
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The trial for an alleged drunk driver accused of killing a Long Island teenager while she was driving home from work began Monday.
Michael Grasing is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and other charges in the June 24, 2012 death of 18-year-old Brittney Walsh.
Prosecutors said Grasing was driving between 85 and 100 miles per hour and swerving when he rear-ended Walsh's car on Montauk Highway in downtown Lindenhurst.
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The impact caused her car to flip multiple times before hitting a utility pole, authorities said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Walsh had graduated from high school two days before the crash. She was on her way home from her job at a local department store.
Prosecutors said Grasing's blood alcohol level was .30, nearly four times the legal limit, about 90 minutes after the crash.
"The purposeful, deliberate culpable conduct by this defendant merits the charge of murder." Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement. "The evidence proves he possessed an utter disregard for the value of human life."
As 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported, Brittney Walsh's father, Thomas Walsh, said it was hard to sit through opening arguments in the trial more than two years after his daughter's death.
"You almost want to feel angry, and I am angry," Thomas Walsh said.
But defense attorney William Keahon said prosecutors cannot prove that the case amounts to murder, and dismissed prosecutors' opening statements.
"What you heard up there is baloney," he said.
Authorities said Grasing faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top charge of second-degree murder.
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