Slap on the Wrist for Staten Island Pedestrian Killer

pakowkiller_advance.jpgJoseph Catrama, right, was speeding and ran a red light before killing Nathan Pakow as he waited for a bus in Ocean Breeze. Photos: Staten Island Advance

Joseph Catrama, the 19-year-old driver whose out-of-control Hyundai struck and killed Nathan Pakow at a Staten Island bus stop last February, will serve no more than six months in jail.

Catrama’s sentence comes as the result of a plea agreement with District Attorney Daniel Donovan. The Advance reports:

[Catrama] admitted in state Supreme Court, St. George, [Friday] that he was speeding and ran the red light when he made the turn from Seaview Avenue onto Capodanno Boulevard.

He lost control of his 2008 Hyundai Sonata and ended up with all four tires on the sidewalk.

Pakow, 48, of Great Kills, was wedged between the car’s front bumper and a metal pole holding the bus schedule and route information on Capodanno.

Catrama had been licensed for about a month when he killed Pakow, a 48-year-old father of two who had recently become a grandfather. He was charged with criminally negligent homicide. As part of his plea, Catrama will forfeit his license for his probationary period, set for up to five years.

"This plea guarantees that the defendant is held accountable for his actions and avoids the uncertainty of a jury trial," said Donovan spokesperson William J. Smith. Read: Given New York State’s ridiculously lax laws against deadly driving, we did well to mete out any punishment for this crime at all.

Catrama is scheduled to be sentenced on March 12.

  • Thats almost as bad as the Sweedish Rapper who beat the shit out of a frail ped then ran over him with his SUV killing him and only got 15 years.

  • Raise the legal driving age in NYC to 25. If the reason for the plea-down is that the typical jury would say a kid like this shouldn’t have to do hard time, then a kid like this shouldn’t be entrusted with operation of killing machine on a public roadway.

  • Whats the over/under on the next pedestrian death to be blamed on a stuck acceleration?

    I say Feb 16.

  • The guy is doing jail time. Is that really just a slap on the wrists? I mean, how long do you want him locked up for? Seriously.

  • He’s doing three months in jail and five years probation. Criminally negligent homicide is a felony, so don’t expect him to vote or hold a civil service job any time soon.

  • Moskos — if, God forbid, one of your family members got killed by someone who was driving recklessly, how long would you want him locked up?

  • I don’t know. If he or she showed remorse, a year? I think I’d prefer that the person never drove again.

  • J. Mork

    Thanks for the thougtful answer. So you agree the sentence wasn’t strong enough.

  • I don’t think the immediate family of victims gets to pick the sentence. If that were the case, we’d run out of juice for the electric chair.

    Regardless, it was the “only got 15” years I was referring to. I didn’t say this sentence was too harsh. I think it’s about right. And it’s certainly more than a “slap on the wrists.”


The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (3 killed this week, 44 this year, 4 drivers charged*) Carroll Gardens: Van Driver Kills Caroline Tunage, 56, As She […]