BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Ossining – In a tragic alcohol-related accident, Michelle Sergio, 38 of Nanuet, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter on the night of September 3 for striking Ossining attorney and town justice candidate John Mangialardi while she was driving drunk.
Mangialardi, 55, was putting up campaign signs on Route 9A at around 10:15 p.m. when Sergio’s Nissan Altima struck and killed him. Sergio and another driver who passed around the same time said they did not see Mangialardi in the road.
Sergio had been drinking sake at a Japanese restaurant before the accident and was driving to her workplace at Cardinal McCloskey Community Services for a night shift. After the accident, Sergio remained on the scene and was given several field sobriety tests, all of which she failed.
“She was a 0.12 an hour and 40 minutes after the accident was taken,” Westchester District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Lucien Chalfen stated. “There’s a formula which toxicologists can use to extrapolate back to when the accident took place.”
Following her arrest, Sergio was arraigned on misdemeanor DWI charges, which were upgraded to vehicular manslaughter at her hearing on Friday.
Bail was initially set at $500,000, but cut to $250,000 after an agreement between Sergio’s lawyer and prosecutors. Sergio posted bail on the morning of September 10 and was scheduled for an appearance in local court later that day.
Mangialardi, who was running as a Republican-Conservative in the town justice race against incumbent Town Justice Nancy Quinn Koba, was a well-known attorney in local circles. His status as a widely recognizable figure is an atypical and potentially complicating factor in the case. However, Judge Lester Adler, who presided over the bail hearing, stated he could remain impartial for the duration.
If there is a sufficient conflict of interest, a change of venue might be pursued, but Chalfen, believes a change in venue is unlikely.
“People can be impartial,” Chalfen said.
Mangialardi’s friends and colleages remembered him as a humorous and helpful man who had a keen sense of loyalty and respect for others. He is survived by a wife and two daughters.
A service for Mangialardi was held at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Ossining on September 9.