Charges have been upgraded from manslaughter to murder for a New York man accused of causing a crash that killed a man hanging onto the hood of the suspect’s car, reports CBS New York. The Nassau County district attorney’s office says 19-year-old Christian Arevalo and 20-year-old Corey Howell got into an argument in the minutes before the crash on August 11 in Great Neck.
The argument ended when Arevalo allegedly drove a 2013 Nissan Altima toward Howell, who jumped onto the hood to avoid being hit.
Howell then held on as Arevalo zig-zagged and drove for more than a mile, reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, prosecutors say.
Howell’s brother was following in a 2017 Cadillac when Arevalo allegedly slammed on the brakes, causing the Cadillac to rear-end the Nissan.
The Nissan drove onto the lawn of Cumberland Adult Center before crashing into a curb, authorities say.
Howell was thrown onto the sidewalk. He was rushed to North Shore University Hospital, where he died hours later.
Charges against Arevalo include murder and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs.
In court Wednesday, his lawyer argued it was a case of self-defense. Defense attorney Brian Griffin said Arevalo was constantly being harassed by Howell and was fleeing an assault at the time.
“Mr. Arevalo was justified in his behavior, based upon the very thorough police accident investigation report,” he said