Long Island man sentenced after killing young, married couple in a drunken crash

A man was sentenced after killing a young, married couple in a drunken crash, the Nassau County DA said.

"To Ismenia and Odalis’ loved ones, I'm sorry for your loss," said Nassau district attorney Anne Donnelly.

On April 24, 2024, Sotirios Spanos, 33, pleaded guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, two counts of manslaughter, two counts of assault, and driving while intoxicated.

"Ismenia and Odalis Urena were a hard-working, successful couple, who had just enjoyed a well-deserved date night and were heading home to their two daughters. They tragically crossed this reckless defendant’s path as he drunkenly hurtled along Northern Boulevard at 100 miles per hour, veered into oncoming traffic and struck the Urenas’ vehicle head-on," Donnelly said. 

Inside the courtroom, relatives told the defendant that he destroyed their lives and robbed them of generous and loving people. The couple’s 15-year-old daughter looked straight at Spanos saying "you took everything away from me - all the people I look up to and made me who I am today." 

The girls are now being raised by Ismenia’s sister, Crismairy Rodriguez.

"The way myself and my siblings, decided to raise our kids was as one, as sisters and brothers, not knowing we'd be raising them for this day," she said.

As Rodriguez addressed the court, she held a lock of hair saying the crash was so horrific that hair was the only part of her sister that wasn’t destroyed by the impact.

"That piece of hair I shared is the only thing I have left of Ismenia," he said.

Spanos looked at each relative as they spoke. He addressed the courtroom saying "there are no words in the English language to express how sorry I am." His attorney, Steven Epstein, said Spanos struggled with addiction.

"In 32 years l've never seen anyone more remorseful and accepting of responsibility," he said.

Officials said on Aug. 12, 2023, at approximately 12:31 a.m., Odalis and Ismenia Urena, both 37, were traveling in a convertible heading westbound on Northern Boulevard approaching Moores Hill Road in Laurel Hollow. 

Spanos was traveling in an 2023 Acura MDX heading eastbound on Northern Boulevard at high speed and while drunk. At that time, Spanos crossed into oncoming traffic, struck the front passenger side of the Urena’s vehicle head-on, and drove over the vehicle, officials said.

According to the event data recorder inside the Acura, Spanos was driving approximately 100 miles per hour only 2.5 seconds before the collision. Urena was traveling at nearly 85 miles per hour at impact.

Ismenia Urena was pronounced dead at the scene. Odalis Urena was taken to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:32 a.m. 

"Sotirios Spanos only began to brake a second and a half before impact. He had been drinking for several hours before he made the decision to drive that cost the Urenas’ their lives. This crash was the last in an extraordinarily deadly nine-day period on our roadways last August. Each collision caused by drivers who were either drunk or high and driving recklessly. Our hearts are with the Urenas’ young daughters, family, and many friends as they continue to grieve this senseless tragedy," Donnelly said. 

The defendant was twice the legal limit for alcohol more than three hours after the collision, officials said. 

Spanos was arrested by members of the Oyster Bay Cove Police Department and Nassau County Police Department’s Homicide Squad on Aug. 12, 2023.

The judge expressed sympathy for Spanos’ struggles saying alcoholism is an addiction but driving is not and there were other choices he could’ve and should’ve made. While Spanos will one day get out of jail, the Ureña family says they’re the ones left with a life sentence.

Spanos has been sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison.

The case is currently under investigation.