Manhasset man gets 3-9 years for fatal high-speed crash

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A Manhasset man involved in a high-speed racing crash that killed his friend was sentenced Wednesday to three to nine years in prison.

The judge told 22-year-old Jonnathan Santos that he was "young and stupid" when he caused the Long Island Expressway crash that killed 19-year old Giannfranco Peralta, who Santos called his "best friend."

Peralta's sister and mother were in the Mineola courtroom as Santos was sentenced. He pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter and driving while ability impaired by alcohol and drugs. Prosecutors say Santos and another driver were racing at speeds of 120 mph when they crashed near Exit 44. Peralta was ejected from Santos' car and killed.

Before sentencing, Santos tried to read a prepared statement, apologizing to the victim's family. But he couldn't get through it; he was sobbing too much. He asked his attorney to read it instead.

"I know that nothing that I say or do will bring him back," the statement reads. "I was young and stupid at the time of the accident and it cost the life of my best friend."

Santos' attorney says his client has worked for the last two years to turn his life around but "will be judged by probably the worst moment in his life."

Peralta's family didn't speak to reporters. In court, the prosecutor read a statement from them saying the last two years have been an "indescribable experience, more like a disaster," with "not a bit of joy, no celebration" at the holidays.

Santos' attorney says his client has always expressed remorse over the crash.

The other driver, Areefeen Hirji, of Muttontown, initially left the scene of the crash but was later arrested. He was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced in February to 3 1/2 to 10 1/2 years in prison.

Read more: 
Trial begins for man accused of leaving scene of fatal LIE crash
Teen arrested in connection to deadly Woodbury crash
Driver charged in LIE crash that killed passenger








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