New York Teenager Charged With Manslaughter For Participating In Drag Race That Led To The Deaths of Five Teenagers

24C5DA2E00000578-2914250-image-a-2_1421473339872Cory Gloe (left) is facing a somewhat novel charge in New York’s Nassau County for his involvement in a tragic crash that killed five teenagers and injured two other people. Gloe, 18, was not in any of the cars that crashed. Rather, he is facing manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for allegedly goaded another driver into participating in a street race.

article-2625657-1DC1CB3100000578-693_306x423Tristan Reichle, 17, appears the most responsible for the crash. Reichle (right) died with his four passengers when he veered across the median and struck an oncoming SUV. Two people in the SUV were injured. Court records show Reichle was legally impaired at the time with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07.

24C6011000000578-2914250-image-m-8_1421473422021article-2625657-1DC1CB3500000578-813_306x423Gloe’s lawyer insists that there is no evidence that his client was participating in a drag race. The question could become whether goading is enough as the foundation for such serious felony charges. However, police insist that Gloe stopped at a red light in the lane next to Reichle and challenged him to a race several times. A race then ensued with Reichle losing control of his 2001 Nissan. He was killed in the crash along with Jesse Romero, 18; Carly Lonborg, 14; Noah Francis, 15; and Cody Talanian, 17, was died later.

24C6011900000578-2914250-image-a-9_1421473430623article-2625657-1DC1DD5200000578-550_634x421There is also the possibility of civil liability against Gloe though the plaintiff conduct issues in such a case would be extremely difficult to overcome for the families of the dead teenagers. The senseless loss for these families is obviously incredible. On one hand, if Gloe was the instigator of the drag race, it would seem that charges are appropriate, though some would argue that reckless driving and lower charges would be more appropriate. What strikes me as difficult in unraveling the issue of who instigated the race in such a circumstance. It is not clear who the surviving witnesses are. The police clearly have some basis to alleged that Gloe repeatedly challenged Reichle. Teenagers are known to act in stupid ways, including drag racing. In this case, it appears that does drivers acted stupidly. However, at what point does the other teen become criminal liable for murder?

Do you think that the teenager should face a murder (manslaughter) charge in such a case?

26 thoughts on “New York Teenager Charged With Manslaughter For Participating In Drag Race That Led To The Deaths of Five Teenagers”

  1. This is one for the jury. Just because young people do stupid things doesn’t excuse them from criminal inability if those “stupid things” results in death or injury. Stupid is not a defense to a criminal charge.

  2. Deaths like these are so tragic.

    Someone in my husband’s family died just before graduating high school. The driver was drinking, and our relative did not wear a seat belt. He was the only one who died. The driver was speeding and lost control and ended up killing his own friend. Nothing happened to him, though. He was a juvenile, and his parents argued that a conviction could ruin his life.

    But such a senseless young death wounds a family in a way that never heals. That hole is never filled. And the remaining family spends the rest of their lives thinking about what their child missed out on.

    Teenagers, especially boys, love to race and think nothing bad will ever happen to them.

  3. I meant to add that teenage drivers must also navigate additional obstacles when they carry passengers. Those passengers might be distracting, refuse to wear a seatbelt, urge them to speed or race another driver, or do anything else. But it’s the driver who is responsible for his own driving decisions.

  4. His conduct is too attenuated to the teens’ deaths to be charged with manslaughter. Appropriately charge him with drag racing and consider the results of that drag race in assessing the appropriate punishment. I’d suspect he’d still be looking at a year or more of jail time. That seems right considering the lack of any intent and that hundreds if not thousands of others do exactly what he did and never receive any jail time.

  5. The reference to goading the other driver is, in my opinion, somewhat irrelevant. What is relevant is that this young man, Gloe, was an active participant in a crime which resulted in the deaths of four individuals. The comments stating that society is merely looking to blame others are absurd. Gloe was not an OTHER. The fact that he may have emerged unscathed by the race is not an issue. Involvement in a criminal act, which goes south, has consequences. This is not, as someone previously mentioned, akin to challenging someone to a race involving swimming, for example, where one of the participants dies. Swimming, unlike drag racing, is not inherently illegal.

  6. I disagree with this charge.

    Our teenagers have to navigate life where people at a party might tell them to go try drugs or smoke, it’s OK to drink and drive, cheat, not wear a seatbelt, or they might rev their engines in the next lane at a red light. And when they grow up, those temptations won’t go away, even if they change over time. We have to explain to our kids that it’s they who will pay the consequences for their actions.

    This was a tragedy, but the teenage driver who died was responsible for his own actions. The other driver didn’t make him race unless he was chasing him. And when a bad choice leads to such tragic deaths, it’s the families who will pay the price forever. Reichle’s family are in a terrible position. Their son drove the car in an illegal race that killed himself and all of his friends inside, as well as inuring 2 other people. They’re grieving, and possibly looking to lesson some of the fault of their late son in this terrible tragedy. I pray for all the families involved. No one should lose a child.

  7. Jim Crow

    That’s where it starts to make sense. It’s gonna happen anyway, might as well be in an area out of harm’s way. Up island from Victoria in the 60’s the highway moved over for a few miles and there was a stretch of road that was the perfect 1/4 mile drag strip. Cobble hill was left alone and anyone who wanted could race without any organization. There were a few accidents as it became more well known and then it morphed into a full blown drag strip with bleachers, tickets, and the smell of nitro. Not the same thing.

  8. Anyone here hail from Saint Louis and perhaps live there in the 1960s? The drag race place was called Hall Street. And haul arse we did. It is in the city but near Riverview Gardens or thereabouts. Lots of warehouses and grain elevators that are shut down, sort of, at night. The cops just let it happen.

  9. This one I would leave to the jury, too many ifs on both sides. I do think the cops are right to arrest and charge him. And even if he challenged him to a race, the dead driver does not HAVE to take up the challenge.

  10. Regardless of whether or not the charges are legally justifiable, which they may be, this appears to be an error in judgment when it comes to prosecutorial discretion. Perhaps this was done to coerce a plea to a lesser charge, but most jurors would likely be uncomfortable convicting on such a serious charge. Given the youth of the defendant, I would have charged him with a lesser charge had I been the prosecutor.

  11. This is a ‘last man standing’ routine. A tragedy of course, kids acting stupid, one could juxtapose any one of many scenarios to reflect the same testosterone and results. ‘I dare ya.’

    The kid should be nailed but nailed accurately within the law. Over stating his participation in the event leads to a certain disrespect on the kid’s part and when it gets thrown out, a certain cynicism.

    If the kid challenged the other kid to a swimming race and the other kid drowned then what? The charges should be centered around improper use of motor vehicles in public, as tough as can be but that’s it. The rest is horrible and if the parents of the other kids want to pursue the issue in civil court that’s their right.

    The law needs to be fair, just, but above all accurate. Ya have to call a spade a spade.

  12. …in fact, this trend has infinite possibilities, as long as you are willing to have open mind and expand the scope of the parties who influenced the perpetrator. Friends, family, action movie, rap song, the possibilities are limitless. Definitely, for every act that is being done by anyone, someone else at some point had made an input.

  13. @RobM, can you clarify why betting money on the driver would be grounds for some form of prosecution, along with hypnotizing and coercing? Betting money still seems to leave the choice to the driver.

    This case is not very new, there were similar, such as when participant of a robbery where his partner was killed, was charged with murder and sentenced to 55 years in maximum-security prison:
    http://reason.com/blog/2015/02/26/shoot-and-kill-no-one-get-charged-with-m

    Here’s another:
    http://wot.motortrend.com/1503_arrests_made_in_fatal_racing_accident_street_outlaws_participant_charged.html
    “Both suspects are being held on two counts of murder and one count of engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway causing a concussion. According to Ricardo Santiago, the Public Information Officer from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the prosecutors “do not believe they were driving, rather that they helped promote and organize the event.” Bail was set at more than $2 million.”

  14. new york state vehicle and traffic law § 1192(1) prohibits driving while the ability to operate a vehicle is “impaired by the consumption of alcohol.” no specific level is mentioned.

    §1192(2) prohibits “driving while intoxicated,” which is defined as .08 of one per cent blood alcohol level.

    driving while impaired is an infraction punishable by a fine of $300 – 500, up to 15 days in jail, or both. driving while intoxicated is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 – 1000, up to one year in jail, or both. there are provisions for further punishments for worse crimes (e.g., multiple convictions, “aggravated vehicular assault,” etc.).

    penal law § 125.10 makes “criminally negligent homicide” a class e felony. criminal negligence is defined by penal law §15.05: “A person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

    the baddest of the bad guys in this case (the driver) is dead (good riddance to bad rubbish), and not subject to prosecution. but the facts included in the column appear to satisfy the definitions, and criminal charges against the instigator are warranted.

  15. The loss of personal responsibility in our litigious culture requires that someone be held responsible. The charge is ridiculous. In my misspent youth back in the 60’s we would drag race. We had a spot in the country, w/ a quarter mile marked off. We had people posted toward the finish line to stop any cars coming the opposite direction. We took some responsibility for others safety. It was still stupid.

  16. This is just my opinion and I stand under correction, but 0.07 isn’t exactly “hammered” or “sloshed”.
    What if the driver had been within the limit, or completely sober? The stigma of alcohol makes it sensationalist.

    If Cory had hypnotized, coerced or had bet money on the driver then that would be grounds for some form of prosecution.
    There were other passengers in the car and they were more of a contributing factor to the driver’s decisions. Quite simply he wanted to look cool, or gain a reputation for himself.

    The problem with alcohol and peer pressure is the passengers pushing for reckless exciting driving.
    Ultimately the responsibility is with the driver. If he is subject to such impulsive decisions based on being “goaded” by the sole survivor of the crash, then he shouldn’t have been given access to the vehicle. Are his parents responsible for the accident for buying him this vehicle. Are the cast and crew of Fast and the Furious also to blame?

    He is young, which suggests he was inexperienced at driving in any case. Its just as likely he would have crashed the car had he been sober.

    In my opinion, Cory should feel bad, but calling someone “chicken” shouldn’t be be grounds to being charged with murder.

    Its almost like the contrasting the case of “Jub Jub”, (who also drag raced under the influence) to Oscar Pretorius. JubJub was reckless, as well as intoxicated, but he didn’t plan to kill anyone. He would end up being charged with murder. Of course he didn’t intentionally drive into kids, who were walking in the road. His vehicle was not a murder weapon of choice.
    Yet Oscar took a loaded firearm and shot his wife multiple times while she hid in a 1m square room in the bathroom. Then told the security, “everything’s fine” straight after seeing his dead wife. Clever wording, “I lost Reeva to a mistake”

  17. Today’s society requires that someone else, other than ourselves, always be held responsible for tragic events. One stubs one’s toe on a sidewalk, look around for a contractor to sue. One accidentally shoots one’s self in the foot while cleaning a gun, sue the gun manufacturer. Sadly, it’s become the American way to eschew personal accountability.

  18. Goading didn’t push the accelerator downward. The driver did. Do we blame the alcohol for a DUI, or the driver who chose to consume it.

  19. Gloe should file a civil suit against the prosecutor to engage in a drag race. If the prosecutor turns out to be bent then he must leave the human race. Please tell us the name of the prosecutor and his email address so that we can put him into the Drag Queen Hall of Fame. Why the other kids got in a car and wrecked is beyond me but the drag race thing has gotten out of hand in that pirate territory known as NY. The bent prosecutor is in it for fame, glory and a roll in the hay.

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