Logan CrawfordMar 1, 2018, 5:07 pm

PD: Suffolk man who left friend in burning wreck extradited after eluding police for decades

Prosecutors say he left for Ecuador, then lived in Texas after drunk driving crash

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CENTRAL ISLIP — A Suffolk man who was on the run from police for nearly 20 years was arraigned Thursday for allegedly killing his friend in a drunk driving crash decades ago.

Wilson Pantosin walked into the courthouse in handcuffs after prosecutors say he crashed his car in East Hampton and left his friend in the passenger seat of the burning wreckage in 1999.He allegedly told witnesses and police he was the only one in the car.

"While he was lying to law enforcement officials, his friend was burning to death," Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini said.

First responders eventually found the remains of a charred body after they extinguished the car fire. District Attorney Sini says a medical examiner's report shows the victim, Wilson Illiasaca burned to death.

Prosecutors say Pantosin then left the country and spent time in Ecuador and then in Harris County, Texas where police arrested him. Authorities extradited Pantosin back to Suffolk on Wednesday.

On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

"At this time my client is maintaining his innocence and he looks forward to challenging these charges," Pantosin's lawyer Christopher Gioe said.

Sini says Pantosin's capture is a good example of the work done by Suffolk County police.

"In this case and every other case we will not stop until justice is served," Sini said.

Pantosin is expected back in court later this month.

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