The overturned vehicle after it crashed into a house on Flanders Road in the early morning on Dec. 17. Courtesy photo.

A Riverhead man who crashed his vehicle into a house on Flanders Road in December, killing his passenger, pleaded guilty today in Suffolk County Criminal Court to manslaughter and DWI charges, Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney announced this evening.

Santiago Monzon-Archila, 40, faces 5 to 15 years in prison, Tierney said in a press release.

His passenger, Edis Noe Hernandez Nunez, 36, of Riverside, was ejected from the vehicle and later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Monzon-Archila admitted to police that he and Edis had been drinking beer since 7 p.m. the night before, according to prosecutors. Police recovered beer cans at the crash scene. The District Attorney’s Office applied for a search warrant of the defendant’s hospital blood which was taken one hour after the crash, the DA’s office said in the press release. The results of the analysis revealed a Blood Alcohol Content of .13%, according to the release.

According to court documents and the defendant’s statements, on December 17, 2021, at approximately 5 a.m., the defendant lost control of his vehicle on Flanders Road and crashed through an iron fence, into a parked truck and then through a wood fence which caused the car to go airborne and finally into a house on Flanders Road, Tierney said. Police estimate that the defendant’s car crashed into the house at approximately 10 feet in the air. The defendant’s car landed upside down with the defendant trapped inside, according to the release. The defendant cut himself out of the driver’s seatbelt.

“This tragedy could have been avoided if the defendant didn’t drive drunk, period,” said Tierney. “Instead, he chose to endanger Suffolk County residents through his reckless conduct and in the process caused the death of his passenger.”

Monzon-Archila is due back in court for sentencing on July 22, Tierney said.

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