Wheatley Heights man sentenced in fatal 2014 crash

Brandon Charles, of Wheatley Heights, sentenced in fatal 2014 Melville crash

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A Wheatley Heights man was sentenced to three to nine years Thursday morning after pleading guilty to causing a 2014 car crash that killed a 19-year-old woman. 

Brandon Charles pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter and reckless driving in the crash that killed Carla Vanessa Flores on Colonial Springs Road in Melville. News 12 has reported that the car she was riding in sped out of control and slammed into a tree. 

At the scene of the crash, authorities say neither Charles nor the owner of the car would say who was driving during the incident. At the time, police said evidence collected at the scene put Charles in the driver's seat.  

In 2015, Charles also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to three to nine years, but that sentence was vacated and he was allowed to withdraw his plea. His attorney said Charles believed that when he was sent to state prison, he would be eligible for a substance abuse program. When he arrived, officials said he was not eligible for that program because his actions resulted in the death of another person. 

Last October, Charles was arraigned on a new indictment that included a DWI charge. In the Central Islip courtroom, he apologized to the Flores family – but they told News 12 that they just can't accept that apology.

"It's been way too long for him to take responsibility, he should have done this from day one," says Viviana Betanco, Flores' sister. 

Charles' attorney had no comment after the sentencing.

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