Driver Who Killed 3 People on Bronx Sidewalk Charged With Manslaughter

Nyanna Aquil, left, her grandfather Louis Perez, and Kristian Leka were killed in the Bronx by a curb-jumping driver last Halloween. Bronx DA Darcel Clark charged Howard Unger with multiple counts of manslaughter, assault, and homicide for the crash.
Nyanna Aquil, left, her grandfather Louis Perez, and Kristian Leka were killed in the Bronx by a curb-jumping driver last Halloween. Bronx DA Darcel Clark charged Howard Unger with multiple counts of manslaughter, assault, and homicide for the crash.

District Attorney Darcel Clark filed manslaughter and homicide charges against a motorist who fatally struck three people, including a child, on a Bronx sidewalk last year.

Howard Unger was indicted this week on three counts of manslaughter, three counts of assault, three counts of homicide, one count of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and one misdemeanor count of falsifying records, according to court records.

Unger, 53, of the Bronx, hit several vehicles before driving a Dodge sedan over the curb on Morris Park Avenue near Bogart Avenue on the afternoon of October 31, 2015.

Unger crashed into a group of people who were out trick-or-treating, killing 10-year-old Nyanna Aquil; her grandfather, 65-year-old Louis Perez; and Kristian Leka, 24, who pushed others out of Unger’s path.

Aquil’s younger sisters, ages 3 and 8, were injured, as were Leka’s 9-year-old sister and his fiancé, according to the Times and DNAinfo.

Prosecutors say Unger is epileptic and “had not been taking medication as prescribed before the crash,” DNAinfo reported.

Image: WCBS
Image: WCBS

The New York State DMV uses the honor system to identify those with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive. People who volunteer such information are required to have a doctor submit a form to the DMV for review.

The DMV clearly isn’t doing enough to prevent people who aren’t medically fit to drive from harming people. Drivers who allegedly or admittedly neglected to take medication as required have killed at least six people in NYC in the last two years alone.

The late District Attorney Ken Thompson did not charge a motorist who told police he hadn’t taken his anti-seizure medication before he killed cyclist Alejandro Moran-Marin and injured several others in a crash in Brooklyn last year.

Former Bronx DA Robert Johnson filed murder charges against a green cab driver who allegedly killed two pedestrians, one of them a 4-year-old girl, while off his epilepsy medication in March 2015. That case remains active, according to court records.

Unger pled not guilty and was held on $75,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for November.

  • Kevin Love

    “The New York State DMV uses the honor system to identify those with medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive.”

    Really? Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, where governments give a care about human life…

    Oh Wait! We don’t have to go too far. Just across the New York/Ontario border. Where medical doctors have a legal requirement to report patients who may be unfit to drive. See the official government website at:

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/medically-unfit-driver-physicians.shtml

    A quote from this website:

    “In Ontario, physicians are required by law to report patients who may be medically unfit to drive. “

  • As an Ontarian, I had a doctor take away my license when I broke my arm. I was a little frustrated, but it’s clear they take it extremely seriously up here.

    And you can have all that without giving up victim blaming cyclists for being hit by cars :P.

  • AMH

    There is justice after all! This at least sends the message that this kind of thing is criminal, and you stand a chance of being prosecuted.

  • Komanoff

    Something particularly heartbreaking in the faces/gaze/eyes of the three people in the photographs. I didn’t know them, but I so wish they were still with us. (Sorry for cliches, I don’t have the words.)

  • warp10

    Why did it take a year to press charges?

  • Glenn

    So, this guy had epilepsy and never said anything to the DMV? He’s allowed to drive on our streets and put everyone at risk? Not cool. I feel for the victims and their families. I do hope Justice will prevail and this douche serves time and/or is forced to pay up. He should not be able to walk the streets. I also know he lives with his mom and she apparently said something in the news when the accident first happened that he never suffered from epilepsy. Wouldn’t his own mother know this? They live together!

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