Long Island driver takes plea deal after 2 killed during search for stolen dirt bike

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Kristin Thorne reports on the plea deal for a Long Island man who drove a minivan into two men and killed them.

Friends and family are upset over the plea deal given to the man who drove a minivan into two men and killed them while looking for a dirt bike he believed they stole.

Christopher Bouchard, 28, of Mastic Beach, pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter in the second degree Thursday for the 2017 crash in North Bellport.

In return for the guilty plea, the judge agreed to sentence Bouchard to 3 1/2 years to 10 1/2 years in prison.

Bouchard's attorney said his client decided to plead guilty to manslaughter to save his family and the victims' families the pain of going through a trial.

"Two young men are dead. My client is very remorseful, he's very sorry that that happened. We certainly believe that we had defenses going forward with a trial, however, once again, the best for all involved was to plea this out and move forward," attorney John Halverson said.

Bouchard was previously charged with just reckless endangerment, but Suffolk County prosecutors convened a grand jury to consider higher charges last November. They came back with the five-count indictment after hearing from a dozen witnesses and reviewing evidence from a crash reconstruction and crash reenactment.

Investigators said he intentionally struck 20-year-old Anthony Garriques and 19-year-old Keenan King with his minivan.

19-year-old Keenen King (left) and 20-year-old Anthony Garriques (right)


The dirt bike had been reported stolen earlier in the day from the garage of Bouchard's home, and police say he later heard from a friend who reported seeing the bike in Bellport.

Authorities say Bouchard and his brother went to Bellport to search for the bike, and soon thereafter a chase ensued that ended when Bouchard rear-ended the dirt bike on Montauk Highway.

The police investigation found Bouchard operated his van at a high rate of speed, failing to maintain his lane and at an unsafe distance during the chase.

Lina Garriques, Garriques's mother, said even though Bouchard admits his actions led to the death of her son, she wishes the penalty was harsher.

"I feel like there isn't justice in the system. I feel that I lost out on 20 years of me raising my son and now I don't have my son. I have to see my son in the ground," Garriques said.

Bouchard is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9.

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Related Topics:
trafficcar crashdirt bikecrashlong island newssuffolk county newsBellportCentral IslipSuffolk County
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