Jose Borbon, 23, of Plainview, was ordered held on $75,000 bail after pleading not guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated at his arraignment in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip. Dozens of uniformed police officers filled several rows of the large courtroom.
Prosecutor John Collins said afterward that upgraded charges were possible against Borbon, depending on the outcome of blood tests taken after Sunday morning's fatal crash. Additional charges were possible as early as Tuesday, although he noted prosecutors were still in the early stages of their investigation.
"He could well be facing a homicide charge at some point in the future," said Collins, who had requested Borbon be held on $1 million bail.
Borbon was arrested early Sunday morning following a fiery collision with a patrol car driven by Suffolk Police Officer Glen Ciano. The officer was on his way to assist with a traffic stop when Borbon's car plowed into his vehicle at about 4:15 a.m. in Commack, police said.
The impact spun Ciano's car around and hurled it into a traffic pole, sparking a fire that engulfed his car so fast there was no chance of rescuing the officer, a 22-year veteran of the department.
Borbon, 23, who was unhurt, was arrested on a DWI charge Jan. 4 in neighboring Nassau County, police there said; that case is pending. He was permitted to drive following the arrest after receiving a conditional license from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Borbon's attorney, William Petrillo, declined to comment on the allegations against his client, whom he described as "distraught" over the officer's death. His "heart, thoughts and prayers are with the officer's family and friends," Petrillo said. The attorney also would not comment on the possibility of upgraded charges.
Ciano, 45, lived in Bayport and was the married father of two children. Funeral plans were not immediately announced.
"This officer made the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the people of Suffolk County," County Executive Steve Levy said in a statement.
Ciano was the 22nd Suffolk police officer killed in the line of duty since the department was formed in 1960.
Last May, Nassau County Police Officer Kenneth Baribault, Jr., 30, was seriously injured when an apparent drunken driver smashed into his patrol car on the Long Island Expressway.
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