Hynes Deal: Community Service for Firefighter in Deadly Hit-and-Run

A city firefighter who left a man to die on a Brooklyn street was sentenced to community service on Monday, the result of a plea deal with Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes.

Manuel Tzaj Guachiac. Photo via New York Times

Pat Quagliariello was reportedly texting his girlfriend and speeding when his BMW SUV struck Manuel Tzaj Guachiac in Bensonhurst in October 2010. Quagliariello did not stop, and refused to talk to investigators when he turned himself in hours later. Wrote the Post:

Quagliariello, whose older brother is well-respected NYPD Detective Anthony Quagliariello, was not given a Breathalyzer or a blood test to determine his blood-alcohol content, sources said.

But the sources insisted that probers could not have done that legally because they have no witnesses saying Quagliariello was driving the vehicle.

At the time of his death, Tzaj Guachiac, 25, had been in the country six months. He moved to the United States from Guatemala, where he had a wife and son.

After the crash, Quagliariello was charged with criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene. According to the Daily News, a prosecutor “vowed that ‘there will be a jail sentence.’”

A Hynes spokesperson told Streetsblog that Quagliariello pleaded guilty to leaving the scene without reporting, and that his sentence requires him to visit 35 high schools to speak to students as part of the DA’s “Choices and Consequences” program — a project aimed at educating teens on the perils of reckless and drunk driving.

If you’re wondering how a homicide charge gets reduced to leaving the scene with no jail time, so were we. When we asked about Quagliariello’s plea deal, Hynes’s office refused further comment.

In other words, not only do killer drivers have virtually nothing to fear from New York police and prosecutors, the machinations behind sweetheart deals like the one granted to Pat Quagliariello are none of the public’s business.

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