East Hampton Fugitive Since '99 Picked Up in Texas

Wilson Pantosin was arraigned in New York State Supreme Court in Central Islip on Thursday and is being held without bail. ABC News

Update, March 1, 3:05 p.m.: A man wanted in East Hampton since 1999 for drunken driving and manslaughter after a fiery crash that killed his passenger was picked up by Suffolk County detectives on Wednesday in Harris, Tex.

Wilson Pantosin was arraigned in New York State Supreme Court in Central Islip on Thursday, where Justice Fernando Camacho ordered him held without bail.

On the rainy night of Jan. 28, 1999, Mr. Pantosin, then 25, lost control of his car on Hog Creek Road in Springs, crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic, bounced off a utility pole, and crashed into a tree and overturned, according to a report in The East Hampton Star at the time. The vehicle burst into flames.

Mr. Pantosin, who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the initial charges on file at East Hampton Town Justice Court, managed to get out of the burning vehicle. He told first responders that he was alone in the vehicle. He had scalp lacerations and was taken to the hospital, where blood was drawn to determine the level of alcohol in his system.

After putting out the fire, first responders discovered the body of Wilson Illaisaca, also of East Hampton and an Ecuadorean national like Mr. Pantosin. Mr. Pantosin was initially arraigned on Jan. 29, 1999, on charges of unlicensed and drunken driving, along with two traffic infractions. He was unable to meet the $10,000 bail, but six days later his bail was reduced to $1,000. He surrendered his Ecuadorean passport, posted bail, and was scheduled to return to court on March 4, 1999. He never showed up, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In March 2003 a grand jury indicted him on charges of manslaughter, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and two misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated.

Mr. Pantosin was arrested at home in Harris County, Tex, where he had been living. At a press conference on Thursday, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini would not comment on how Mr. Pantosin came to the attention of authorities there. His attorney, Christopher Goie, said his client maintains his innocence. 

Original, March 1, 12:35 p.m.: A fugitive from East Hampton since 1999, wanted for drunken driving and manslaughter after a fiery crash that killed his passenger, was picked up by Suffolk County detectives on Wednesday in Harris, Tex.

He was scheduled to be arraigned in Central Islip on Thursday.

On the rainy night of Jan. 28, 1999, Wilson Pantosin, then 25, lost control of his car on Hog Creek Road in Springs, crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic, bounced off a utility pole, and crashed into a tree and overturned, according to a report in The East Hampton Star at the time. The vehicle burst into flames.

Mr. Pantosin, who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the initial charges on file at East Hampton Town Justice Court, managed to get out of the burning vehicle. He told first responders that he was alone in the vehicle. He had scalp lacerations and was taken to the hospital, where blood was drawn to determine the level of alcohol in his system.

After putting out the fire, first responders discovered the body of Wilson Illaisaca, also of East Hampton and an Ecuadorean national like Mr. Pantosin. Mr. Pantosin was initially arraigned on Jan. 29, 1999, on charges of unlicensed and drunken driving, along with two traffic infractions. He was unable to meet the $10,000 bail, but six days later his bail was reduced to $1,000. He surrendered his Ecuadorean passport, posted bail, and was scheduled to return to court on March 4, 1999. He never showed up, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In March 2003 a grand jury indicted him on charges of manslaughter, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and two misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated.

It was not immediately clear this week how he came to the attention of authorities in Harris County, Tex. New York State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho was to preside at his arraignment in Central Islip on Thursday.
 

According to reports at the time, Mr. Pantosin told first responders several times that no one was in the car with him when it crashed in Springs on Jan. 28, 1999, and caught fire. The other occupant of the vehicle, Wilson Illaisaca, died in the crash.Doug Kuntz