DA Vance: Man Charged with Murder, Driving While Intoxicated for Fatal Multi-Car Crash in Murray Hill

August 16, 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of ANTONIOS SIKOLAS, 25, for colliding with a tractor-trailer on East 34th Street while under the influence of alcohol, causing a fatal multiple-car crash that killed his passenger and injured two others. SIKOLAS is charged in a New York Supreme Court indictment with Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol, and other related charges. 

“Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol isn’t an accident; it’s a deliberate and dangerous choice, too often with deadly consequences,” said District Attorney Vance. “Here, the defendant is accused of acting with depraved indifference as he barreled up Third Avenue, flew past eleven red lights, and smacked into a tractor-trailer, causing a deadly three-car wreck. Our streets are far too crowded for carelessness behind the wheel, and my Office remains committed to bringing offenders to justice.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, at approximately 2:26 a.m. on July 19, 2017, SIKOLAS was driving a 2016 Honda Civic northbound on Third Avenue with a suspended driver’s license when he sped through eleven red lights and struck a tractor-trailer heading eastbound on East 34th Street. SIKOLAS—who had a blood-alcohol level of .14%—hit the truck with such force that the impact knocked the truck into the westbound lanes, causing it to strike a taxicab parked on the opposite side of the street with the driver inside. Minutes later, FDNY first-responders arrived at the scene to remove the defendant and 37-year-old Ryota Funakoshi—who was seated in the front passenger seat—from the defendant’s car, which was totaled as a result of the collision. 

SIKOLAS and three victims—the truck driver, the taxicab driver, and Mr. Funakoshi—were rushed to the hospital. Mr. Funakoshi remained in critical condition, having suffered severe head trauma, skull fractures, and major facial lacerations, before succumbing to his injuries. The defendant and the two other victims sustained minor injuries, and police arrested SIKOLAS at Bellevue Hospital later that morning.

Assistant District Attorneys Kerry O’Connell, Senior Trial Counsel for the Trial Division, and Victoria Meyer are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jill Hoexter, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division.

District Attorney Vance thanked Detective Miguel Cruz of the Manhattan DA Squad and the following members of the NYPD for their assistance with the case: Officers Ariel Alvarado, Zachary Bonner, and Luis Cruz of the 17th Precinct and Detectives Jose Diaz, Michael Sharpe, Walter Bowden, and Peter Jarvis of the Highway District.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court. 

Defendant Information:

Yonkers, NY

•    Murder in the Second Degree, a class A-1 felony, 1 count
•    Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
•    Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
•    Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
•    Reckless Driving, an unclassified misdemeanor, 1 count
•    Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, an unclassified misdemeanor, 1 count
•    Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol, an unclassified misdemeanor, 2 counts