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Costello indicted by grand jury

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | John Costello following a court appearance last month.

A Suffolk grand jury has indicted the 71-year-old Greenport man accused of being drunk behind the wheel when swerving into oncoming traffic and striking another car and killing its passenger last month, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.

The charges against John Costello, a dock builder who owns Greenport’s Costello Marine and has done extensive work on the Island’s waterfront over the years, will be unsealed at an arraignment Feb. 11 in Riverside before state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho. He stands accused of driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

A review of online court records shows he will be facing a top charge of vehicular manslaughter and two additional felony charges for recklessly causing death, along with three misdemeanor charges — two related to driving drunk — and a traffic infraction.

He was initially charged only with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

A lawyer for Mr. Costello told Southold Town Justice Rudolph Bruer at his initial arraignment that Mr. Costello had been drinking before the accident on Main Road in Greenport.

But the lawyer, William Keahon, said Mr. Costello “only had two beers over a 90-minute period.”

Mr. Costello was driving a 2008 Chevy pickup truck eastbound on Main Road shortly before 7 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 6 when he crossed into the westbound lane and hit an oncoming 2006 Honda driven by 22-year-old Oseas Ramirez, according to the police accident report.

Bartalone Miguel, 32, and also of Peconic, was riding in the Honda’s passenger seat and was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Mr. Costello remains free on $250 bail.