Seaford man faces upgraded charges in boy's death

The driver accused of killing a 12-year-old Valley Stream boy with his SUV last week is facing upgraded charges. Police say Austin Soldano, 29, was at the wheel when he accidentally hit and killed

News 12 Staff

Dec 18, 2014, 2:51 AM

Updated 3,440 days ago

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Seaford man faces upgraded charges in boy's death
The driver accused of killing a 12-year-old Valley Stream boy with his SUV last week is facing upgraded charges.
Police say Austin Soldano, 29, was at the wheel when he accidentally hit and killed seventh-grader Zachary Ranftle. Soldano was originally charged with driving with a suspended license.
Nassau Judge Angelo A. Delligatti ordered Soldano's case sent to the grand jury and increased his bail from $5,000 to $50,000, attaching the case to an open drunken driving arrest from August. Soldano was charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.
Soldano was also charged with reckless endangerment, operating without a registration and fleeing a police officer back in April.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Casa told the judge that Soldano's continuing to drive after his arrests "was a blatant disregard for orders of this court and an audacious act."
Brunetti says his client is remorseful. He said that Soldano gave the Ranftle family $10,000 with a condolence card. The attorney said more money would be sent to help with funeral expenses.
A Ranftle family representative said they won't accept the money. The family held a funeral service for Zachary at St. John's Cemetery in Queens Wednesday.
It could take several weeks before the grand jury hands up its decision.


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