Three alleged Tanger Outlet shoplifters who reportedly sped down the Long Island Expressway to Sunrise Highway and struck and killed a Holbrook woman in late June were arraigned on Friday morning in Riverside.
Prosecutors said Cordell Tucker, 24, of Brooklyn, was driving the Lincoln Town Car that killed 62-year old Gail Sacher, a former teacher in the Hauppauge School District, on June 27. They said he nearly reached 100 miles per hour at some points on Sunrise Highway during the fatal chase which ended in Sayville.
Tucker stands charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in the first degree, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree possession of stolen property, and various vehicle and traffic violations. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Judge Martin Efman set bail for Tucker at $1 million cash and $500,000 bond, an amount that "disappointed" Tucker's lawyer, Susan Scarpati.
Prosecutors said Tucker and 18-year old Essence Smith of Troy and Rashawn Naquan Smith, 26, of Brooklyn stole 30 pairs of jeans from True Religion in Riverhead. They alleged that after being stopped by county sheriffs on the L.I.E., Tucker sped away as sheriffs approached the car, resulting in the high-speed chase leading to the fatal crash.
Sacher's husband, Alan, was driving the vehicle that was hit by the town car. He remains at Southside Hospital and reportedly suffered multiple vertebrae fractures and a pulmonary embolism as a result of the crash.
"This was a serious accident and at this point in time [Tucker] appears very remorseful," said Scarpati. "All I can say is that every morning when he wakes up, he has trouble facing what he's been charged with."
Along with Tucker, Essence Smith was also arraigned. She was charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and pleaded not guilty. Bail was posted at $25,000 bond and $15,000 cash.
Rashawn Naquan Smith was also charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and pleaded not guilty. His bail was posted at $75,000 cash and $50,000 bail. Prosecutors said he had a prior conviction for criminal possession of a controlled substance and had failed to appear in court on three separate occasions.