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D.A.: Former Falcons hoops star pleads guilty to manslaughter in deadly high-speed chase

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A Valley Stream man and former South High School basketball star pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault on Friday for his involvement in a deadly, high-speed car chase last year according to the Nassau County District Attorney. He faces up to 12 years in prison.

Prosecutors alleged that on March 19, 2019 at around 11:30 p.m. Dana King Jr., 24, of Valley Stream had been waiting outside the Valley Stream home of his ex-girlfriend Isabel Rodriguez in a black 2009 Audi when 22-year-old Jim Hayes Jr. picked her up in a lime green BMW.

About a block away from the house, Rodriguez reportedly noticed that King Jr. was following them. Prosecutors said he chased the two at high speed, at times striking the BMW, to Hempstead, where the chase ended in a deadly crash.

King Jr. reportedly rammed the BMW a final time on Baldwin Avenue in Hempstead, causing the car to become airborne and crash into a tree, killing Hayes Jr. and seriously injuring Rodgriguez. King Jr.’s car spun out of control and crashed into two parked cars nearby.

King Jr. was charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault. He pleaded guilty to both charges. Rodriguez reportedly suffered a broken back and arm in the crash and was treated at the Nassau University Medical Center.

“Dana King’s jealousy turned criminal as he recklessly drove at grossly excessive speeds and chasing the car containing his ex-girlfriend,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The crash he caused senselessly killed 22-year-old Jim Hayes and seriously injured Isabel Rodriguez. We continue to send our condolences to both families”.

King Jr. graduated from South in 2016, where he had been a star player for the Falcons, according to athletic records. He went on to play for Nassau Community College from 2016 to 2018.

Speaking after the plea, King Jr.’s Rockville Centre-based attorney, Michael DerGarabedian said his client has been “remorseful” since the incident, and that “having the ability to accept responsibility truly defines a person/”

“He was not a criminal, and neither was the victim,” DerGarabedian added. “They were young kinds that acted a little crazy and unfortunately the victim paid with his life, and my client paid with his freedom.”