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Jun 15, 2010 2:29 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Driver in fatal motorcycle accident jailed on felony manslaughter charge

Jun 15, 2010 2:29 PM

RIVERHEAD—The Manorville man arrested last month after he crashed his motorcycle while trying to evade police in East Hampton—an accident that killed his pregnant fiancée—was sent to jail Friday after pleading not guilty to an upgraded charge of second-degree manslaughter, a felony.

Matthew Byank, 19, who had been free on $50,000 bond since the fatal accident, appeared in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on a grand jury indictment that added the manslaughter charge, which is punishable with five to 15 years in prison. Mr. Byank was originally charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer, a felony, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and other traffic violations, following the accident that killed his 19-year-old fiancée, Lauren Parris of Mastic Beach.

Mr. Byank, who was taken to Southampton Hospital after the crash with a fractured collarbone and sprained ankle, was bailed out of jail after his initial arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court last month. But he was taken away by court officers Friday after Judge Stephen Braslow increased his bail to $150,000 cash or $250,000 bond, despite Mr. Byank’s lawyer’s insistence that he was not a flight risk. He is being held at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.

The accident happened after Mr. Byank fled from officers and lost control of his motorcycle while heading west on Route 27 in Amagansett on May 24, police said.

Mr. Byank also has a number of other charges on his police record, according to Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, including leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, which was filed in connection with an incident of road rage, the prosecutor said. Mr. Byank was also arrested in April and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

At the time of last month’s fatal accident, Mr. Kurtzrock revealed in court Friday, Mr. Byank not only had a suspended driver’s license from his prior charges, but his motorcycle permit was limited, meaning that he wasn’t supposed to be riding with passengers or driving without an experienced motorcyclist present.

Mr. Kurtzrock said Mr. Byank told police officers “I shouldn’t have been on the bike.” Also, Mr. Kurtzrock said that on the day of his original arraignment, Mr. Byank asked court officers about the condition of his motorcycle, and when he would get his jacket and helmet back.

Some of Friday’s proceedings prompted a brief outburst by Daniel Parris, Ms. Parris’s father, who attended the arraignment. When Tad Scharfenberg, Mr. Byank’s lawyer, tried to object to the prosecution’s attempt to add additional facts to the record, calling it “upsetting,” Mr. Parris yelled out, “upsetting?” prompting court officers to reprimand him and the two people seated with him to help calm him down.

Mr. Kurtzrock also read aloud some details of the accident that Mr. Parris and others had yet to hear. He said that according to eye witnesses, after Mr. Byank evaded police he continued to speed down the Napeague stretch, driving between 90 and 115 miles per hour and passing other cars. He said Ms. Parris was thrown some 80 feet from the speeding motorcycle when it struck a utility pole after Mr. Byank lost control.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Parris said that in a conversation at his house just a week or so before the accident, his daughter complained that Mr. Byank liked to speed and Mr. Parris had Mr. Byank promise he wouldn’t do it with his daughter on the bike.

“In his own words he said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to do it,’ and he did it,” he said.

Mr. Parris said he was generally pleased with Judge Braslow, that more details of Mr. Byank’s prior charges had been added to the record, and that the bail amount was raised. But he added that his family will never be truly satisfied.

“Maybe he’ll get his freedom,” he said, “but our family will be jailed for the rest of our lives.”

During the proceedings, Mr. Scharfenberg requested Mr. Byank be granted supervised release, which Judge Braslow denied, but he did say Mr. Scharfenberg could request a screening from the Probation Department.

Mr. Byank’s next court date was scheduled for July 14.

Mr. Parris, who sat separately from the Byank family in the courtroom and who was not allowed to leave the room until the Byank family had been escorted out of the building, said he intends to be at every court appearance.

The Byank family refused to comment as they left the courthouse.

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By KAZ (26), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 11, 10 5:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
KAZ, I totally agree!! Anthony Oddone is no friend of our family~~ Human beings (?) like this deserve what they get! They definitely need attitude adjustments and I hope they meet their match in prison. I don't feel an ounce of empathy for either one of them!!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 12, 10 7:43 AM
That's unlikely because Anthony Oddone will be/was at Rikers Island and Matthew Byank will be in Riverhead.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jun 12, 10 5:07 PM
FYI... Anthony Oddone is in Attica
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 12, 10 5:21 PM
i wonder how that place is working out for him. thats the worst of the worst there.
By slamminsammy (104), East Moriches on Jun 13, 10 10:05 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:04 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:04 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:05 AM
Obviously he really didn't love his fiancee and their unborn baby if the only thing he's asking about is his croch rocket. He showed no remorse for his actions after killing two people. That's not love. Prision is where you belong for a very very long time.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Jun 11, 10 6:25 PM
i agree with you 100%, no remorse, only concerned for his pitterful self and motorcycle people like him belong in jail for a long time, and hopefully when he get out in 10 years laurens father and i would met him and REALLY explain to him the heart ache his foolish and selfish behaivor has caused her family and frtends.
By marineforever (1), spring hill on Jun 11, 10 11:17 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:04 AM
Well the lady from Mattituck who killed the boy in hampton bays got only 6 months in jail. She was drunk and Byank was sober. She was older and should have known better. How can she get only 6 months in jail and this guy is looking at years? The girl didnt have to get on the motorcycle to begin with. Just a different perspective.........
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 11, 10 9:08 PM
The "lady" from Mattituck definitely should serve more time. First and foremost, she is a mother. She was drinking and driving with her minor child in the vehicle. That tells you right there that she is not a responsible adult.

The young girl on the motorcycle was exactly that...young. She probably hadn't experienced life and its ramifications yet. What a shame to lose her life so early.

The guy on the motorcycle sounds like a punk that needs to grow up--in PRISON.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 12, 10 7:53 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:05 AM
Some comments, ICE? Surely you want to defend this guy again.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Jun 11, 10 10:32 PM
Sorry didn't see this to get back to you sooner. Are you damaged Terry? I didn't defend his actions, I simply stated that the Police could've used a roadblock. I said this because like it or not they simply can not safely stop a motorcycle that is fleeing by other means. This means all motorcycles, not just rice/crotch rockets. Even a big heavy sloppy Harley.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 19, 10 11:39 AM
hes just a kid, not even old enough to buy a beer.... If I was the girl's parent I would hav made sure she never got on the motorcycle.....
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 12, 10 4:56 AM
You have gotta be kidding-- Are you just trying to rile up the board here? He was old enough to make the decision to sire a child. Of course, he was probably irresponsible in that decision also.

And you say the girl's parent shouldn't have let her get on the motorcycle... Well if you are claiming he is just a kid, then HIS parents shouldn't have allowed him to have the motorcycle.

I doubt things circumstances would be any different if he was 21 or 51.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 12, 10 8:06 AM
Not sure how closely you've actually followed this unhappy story, but the 19-year-old woman was already emancipated and living with the driver of the death vehicle. So how would "the girl's parents" been able to do anything such as you suggest?

Things are likely different in your home, but then she wasn't in either your home or her parent's home, was she.

Some very bad choices made here -- which common to youth.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 12, 10 10:50 AM
So sad. There is always a whole lot of "shoulda-woulda-coulda" following such tragedy. My heart aches for the Parris family for the loss of their loved one, and for the loss of a love yet to be. It is amazing to me how a (poor) decision made in a matter of miliseconds can yield results that will reverberate for a lifetime. I always try to remind my teenage daughter that it only takes a second to make a mistake, but it could take forever to make it right again.
By HBPatriot (19), Hampton Bays on Jun 12, 10 7:49 AM
2 members liked this comment
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jul 3, 10 2:05 AM
It is very unfortunate, but the girl knew this guy was a speed demon and wasn't forced to get on the bike.... Also the guy is a complete idiot. Who in their right mind would ride a motorcycle to montauk with no license and bench warrants? Everyone knows Hamptons cops are the strictest cops around. They both asked for something bad to happen and probably couldn't have gotten a worse answer.
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 13, 10 1:13 PM
So tell me… the Father of Lauren Parris do you have kids SirHampton? I had 2...Did you always yield to the side of reason when you were 19? Lauren hated the bike as much as she hated sitting home alone at 19. Also, any one who knows me, knows I am one of the all time most conservative men and fathers on this planet. I have always been told I am way over protective. I was told by my daughter that she hated that mr. byank would speed. He promised me in my kitchen a week before the accident that he ...more
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jun 14, 10 12:00 AM
PS.... byanks lawyer stated that this whole thing was upsetting to his client. I shouted out "upsetting, really, he's upset . What they wrote here is not what happened exactly. My Daughter was thrown 80 feet to her death after she hit the pole. Picture that like I have then think before you add another comment.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jun 14, 10 12:07 AM
Dont take your anger out on me, this is just a comment board.....
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 15, 10 12:37 AM
Take your obnoxious comments elsewhere! Try to show a little empathy for the parents here.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 15, 10 6:48 AM
.....but what happened was a complete tragedy in anyway you look at the situation and I am very sorry for your loss.
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 15, 10 12:44 AM
If everyone wrote the same exact comment, there would be no need for a comment board...... My comments are my comments and yours are yours. Dont start talking to me like im the psyco motorcycle driver, Im just commenting on the story...
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 15, 10 9:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
There really is no need for a comment board except for folks like you to pretend to be some one else other than the first party in a tragic day in a life. You'd need to be in the mix and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. But if you were, you would find yourself at a total loss for words in reaction to what you call just a comment. As I am.
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jun 16, 10 12:59 PM
Sometimes, people just take things too far, thinking they know all there is on the subject, or they at least act like they do.. The First Amendment grants freedom of speech, and we all do freely use it. And, some people do abuse it at that. People think, and act rashly at times, it's the nature of the beast. I've been called a socialist, holier than thou, and probably other things on this comment board that I haven't read, or heard in public.
I'm more than reasonably sure that you don't ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 17, 10 11:48 PM
I have to wonder if "Sir Hampton" has any kids himself. Those who don't have kids usually give the most advice. And they haven't got a clue!!!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 22, 10 9:56 PM
My view makes complete and total sense. I was saying If I had a 19 year old daughter and she had a 19 year old boyfriend who is obviously an inexperienced rider of a motorcycle, she would not be going anywhere near the motorcycle especially if I heard he drove like a suicidal maniac. If you want to see more innocent deaths, then fine have it your way and call me stupid. However as I was saying, I would either A) beat the boyfriend senseless until he understands to never take my daughter on the ...more
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 22, 10 6:12 AM
The keyword here is "if" you had a daughter... it seems that people without kids always have the best advice. Of course, maybe you have sons, I have no idea. I am being facetious here. You don't have a daughter, hence, you don't have a clue what its like to raise one. And don't even try to put yourself in his poor man's shoes. You could never even begin to feel the pain I am sure.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 22, 10 7:54 PM
Im not battling the father, Im battling people like you.
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 22, 10 10:17 PM
Do you like to justify under-protective parents or are you one?
By SirHampton (60), quogue on Jun 22, 10 10:19 PM
To bad you don't know my grown, respectable family... They could tell you better than I.

But this is not something I have just thought of.... I have ALWAYS said, it seems the people that don't have kids are the ones always pointing the finger and always giving their advice.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Jun 23, 10 7:04 AM

I built a site for people who don't pull any punches. Need no get your point across? Are you a closet Blogger? Maybe some one knows Sir Hampton is a great guy, just trying to set fires to keep us all aware!
By DParris (12), Mastic Beach on Jun 23, 10 12:51 AM