Unlicensed Driver Pleads Guilty in Brooklyn Hit-and-Run Death

Brian Young was charged for fleeing the scene but not for the act of killing 28-year-old Francis Perez.

Scene of the hit-and-run crash that killed Francis Perez. Image: News 12
Scene of the hit-and-run crash that killed Francis Perez. Image: News 12

A motorist who killed a man in Brooklyn has pled guilty to leaving the scene and driving without a valid license.

Brian Young struck 28-year-old Francis Perez as Perez crossed Avenue V in Sheepshead Bay on the night of September 23, 2016.

Perez
Perez

Perez had just walked out of a store with snacks for his 8-year-old son when Young rammed him with a Toyota SUV and kept driving.

“The guy flew in the air, and then the [driver]… stopped at that corner and just drove off,” a witness told the Daily News.

Prosecutors charged Young, then 47, with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation. The Brooklyn district attorney’s office declined to charge Young for the act of killing Perez.

Under state law the penalty for hit-and-run can be less severe than the penalty for a drunk driver who injures or kills someone and remains at the scene, a statutory flaw Albany legislators have for years failed to fix.

Leaving the scene of a fatal crash is a class D felony with penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison. Third degree aggravated unlicensed operation is a low-level misdemeanor. Young pled guilty to both charges Wednesday, according to court records.

Young is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

  • Flakker

    While crashes may statistically be declining overall, every unlicensed driver who crashes and doesn’t get the book thrown at them has gotten away with it.

  • mortacai

    What book is that though? The DA declined to prosecute for the driver “killing” the other party because killing someone is not a crime. Murder and manslaughter are crimes, as are reckless endangerment and so on. But if you cause a death but did not intend to, then that is not a crime absent some other factor.

    You need more than just the fact that the other guy died, and leaving the scene is separate from that, since that obviously happened after the accident

  • Flakker

    I am not a lawyer but looking at the penal code you may have a point. I’m not seeing anything that would fit this description being punishable. I thought that’s what “manslaughter” is but apparently not that simple.

  • mortacai

    From the Legal Dictionary:

    “Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another human being without intent. The absence of the intent element is the essential difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Also in most states, involuntary manslaughter does not result from a heat of passion but from an improper use of reasonable care or skill while in the commission of a lawful act or while in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony.

    Generally there are two types of involuntary manslaughter: (1) criminal-negligence manslaughter; and (2) unlawful-act manslaughter. The first occurs when death results from a high degree of Negligence or recklessness, and the second occurs when death is caused by one who commits or attempts to commit an unlawful act, usually a misdemeanor.

    Although all jurisdictions punish involuntary manslaughter, the statutes vary somewhat. In some states, the criminal negligence type of manslaughter is described as gross negligence or culpable negligence. Others divide the entire offense of manslaughter into degrees, with voluntary manslaughter constituting a more serious offense and carrying a heavier penalty than involuntary manslaughter.

  • Flakker

    yeah like i said I read the statutes. I don’t know what the definition of “criminal negligence” is in NY so I conceded you might be right.

  • mortacai

    I think the distinction is a common sense one, like so much of the law. So if the driver is drunk and speeding, and kills someone, then that could convince a jury of manslaughter.

    If a pedestrian gazing at a cell phone walks into the highway without looking, not so much.

    Criminal cases take away one’s liberty so it is only right that the burden of proof is very, very high, much more so than in a civil case where it’s just a matter of how much my insurance company will pay you to go away.

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