Police in New York believe that excessive speed, reckless driving and alcohol consumption led to an accident in Kings County on the evening of July 17 that claimed the life of a 17-year-old cyclist. Toxicology testing is said to have revealed the driver's blood alcohol level to be .163 percent, which is more than double the .08 percent legal driving limit in New York. The accident took place on Gerritsen Avenue near Gotham Avenue in Brooklyn at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Police reports indicate that the 24-year-old driver of a Honda Accord sedan was speeding southbound on Gerritsen Avenue and had crossed the center line when he struck a cyclist in the northbound lane. Police believe that the man was attempting to pass another vehicle at the time of the crash. The teen cyclist struck the windshield of the Honda before falling to the ground. He was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Three of the man's four passengers had been transported to the Lutheran Medical Center in nearby Sunset Park for treatment. One is said to have suffered serious injuries in the accident. The driver was taken into custody at the scene and may face a count of vehicular manslaughter in addition to drunk driving charges. He was released on bail of $50,000 after a July 18 arraignment hearing.
The penalties for drunk driving in New York can be particularly severe when an accident causes serious injury or death. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to settle this type of case when the evidence against their clients is overwhelming. Prosecutors are often receptive to negotiated plea agreements even when they have compelling evidence at their disposal, since because they have a heavy case load they may be willing to reduce charges or penalties in serious cases in return for a speedy resolution.
Source: NY Daily News, "Driver who killed teen cyclist in Brooklyn had blood alcohol level twice the legal limit", Rocco Parascandola and Reuven Blau, July 18, 2016