Bronx DA Johnson Files Manslaughter Charge for Cyclist’s Hit-and-Run Death
Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson filed homicide charges against the man who allegedly killed cyclist Gabriela Aguilar-Vallinos in a hit-and-run crash earlier this month.
Aguilar-Vallinos, 27, was on her way home from work at around 11:45 on the night of September 11 when a driver hit her with a Hyundai sedan on the City Island Bridge. The motorist did not stop. Aguilar-Vallinos suffered head trauma and died at Jacobi Hospital.
NYPD released video of the vehicle involved in the crash. The Daily News reported that 25-year-old Michael Moreno turned himself in to Johnson’s office on Tuesday.
Johnson charged Moreno with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and felony leaving the scene, according to the DA’s office. Moreno was arraigned last night and held on $500,000 bond. The case will next go to the grand jury for indictment.
The top charge against Moreno, manslaughter, is a class C felony with penalties ranging from probation to 15 years in prison.
It is rare for a New York City district attorney to bring a homicide charge against a driver who is not also accused of driving drunk. Because of a loophole in state law, drivers who may be impaired can game the system by leaving the scene of a crash, since the penalty for hit-and-run is less severe than the penalty for causing death or injury while intoxicated.
Drivers who leave the scene of a crash in NYC aren’t always charged criminally, even when they kill someone. When prosecutors decide to pursue a case, they normally charge for leaving the scene but not for the act of taking a life.
Moreno’s next court appearance is scheduled for Friday. We will follow this case at it develops.