Ronkonkoma man pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter

Ronkonkoma man pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter

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Wade Gagliano

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on Nov. 30 that Wade Gagliano, 24, of Ronkonkoma, pleaded guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree and other related charges, after driving while under the combined influence of marijuana and alcohol and causing a crash that claimed the life of 67-year-old Adrienne Wagner of Ronkonkoma.

“Driving under the influence not only decreases your ability to drive due to its effects on people’s motor skills, but it also causes poor reaction time and decision making, which can have life-altering effects for pedestrians and fellow motorists,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Adrienne Wagner’s life was tragically cut short because this defendant decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when he should not have, and then fled the scene after he struck her. Crimes such as these are completely avoidable, and our legislators need to increase penalties for leaving the scene of fatal crashes.”

According to court documents and the defendant’s admissions during his guilty plea allocution, on August 14, 2022, at approximately 1:30 a.m., Gagliano was operating a 2006 Lexus RX 330 after consuming alcohol and smoking marijuana. While driving on Johnson Avenue in Ronkonkoma, Gagliano struck and killed the victim who was crossing the street. Gagliano then left the scene in his vehicle without contacting law enforcement to report the crash or rendering aid to the victim. The victim subsequently died as a result of injuries she sustained from the crash. Gagliano then drove to his residence and told his family members what occurred.

After a period of time, a 911 call was made by an individual at the residence where Gagliano resided. When police responded to Gagliano’s home, they observed his SUV that had front end damage, a cracked windshield, and was missing the driver’s side mirror. Gagliano was placed under arrest, and a sample of his blood was taken which revealed a blood alcohol concentration of .10%, and the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at a level indicating recent use.

On November 30, 2023, Gagliano pleaded guilty before Acting Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Richard I. Horowitz, to the following charges:

 Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a Class D felony;

 Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting Resulting in Death, a Class D felony;

 Driving While Intoxicated, an Unclassified misdemeanor; and

 Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, an Unclassified misdemeanor.

Gagliano is due back in court for sentencing on January 25, 2024. Under current New York State law, the maximum sentence that Gagliano faces on the top count is 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office recommended Gagliano be sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison. His license will also be revoked.

Gagliano is being represented by Anthony Lapinta, Esq. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ray Varuolo of the Vehicular Crime Bureau, with investigative assistance from Detective Genevieve Vesley of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Major Case Unit.