A cement truck driver accused of driving while high and then crashing into a bus that left its driver dead in Locust Valley is now on trial.
Opening remarks were heard Wednesday in the trial of Raymond Ragen, 45, of Mineola. Authorities said he drove while under the influence of drugs and talking on a cell phone when he slammed into a Long Island Rail Road bridge on Oyster Bay Road in July 2012 and smashed into an oncoming school bus.
Driver Jorge Guevara was pronounced dead at the scene. Five other male bus passengers were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Among them were three 6-year-olds, a 9-year-old and one adult, aged 64.
Ragen pleaded not guilty to charges that include aggravated vehicular homicide.
David Besso, Ragen’s attorney, at Nassau County Court in Mineola, told jurors that two police officials would testify that he was not driving while impaired, according to Newsday. Besso also said he would present evidence showing that Ragen was driving slow at the time of the accident, which took place in an area where “trees blocked the bridge, and the road has a significant slope.”Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Dellinge maintained in court that Ragan was not driving slowly, and he did not steer away from the bridge before crashing into it, Newsday reported.
The trial is continuing Thursday.