Driver Takes Plea in 1997 Hit-and-Run Death of Kristen Nemec

A driver who jumped bail 13 years ago after a West Village hit-and-run pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter yesterday.

Jose Heras was 21 when he mowed down 25-year-old Kristen Nemec as she and a group of friends crossed Houston Street at LaGuardia Place in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 25, 1997. Nemec, a native of West Los Angeles in town for a sorority sister’s wedding, was wearing her bridesmaid’s dress when she died less than half an hour later at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Wrote the Times:

”Her boyfriend said that they had just crossed the street, and he had
stopped in the center divider, and she was just a couple of paces
behind him,” said her father, Richard. ”Then he turned around and saw
what had happened.”

Police found Heras’ abandoned BMW a few blocks away. He turned himself in to police and was initially charged with leaving the scene. Heras, a U.S. citizen, fled the country and was eventually found in Cuenca, Ecuador. He was deported from Ecuador last August.

"This is a victory on two fronts: aggressive prosecution of a vehicular crime, and closing an open homicide," a spokesperson with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office told Streetsblog.

Heras will be sentenced on March 12, according to the AP, when he faces a maximum prison term of seven years.

  • I suppose vehicular manslaughter is most likely the worst thing he could be convicted of, so I can’t say the DA’s office was mistaken to accept the plea, although it does mean he’s escaping punishment for the bail jumping and whatever else he might be convicted of. Given the circumstances, especially the bail-jumping, he should get the maximum 7 years.

  • 7 years is the maximum for killing someone and fleeing the country?

    And on the other hand, possessing (not creating) child porn can get you 40 years or more.

  • Jay

    was she and her boyfirend drunk from the wedding?

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