Repeat Drunk Driver Pleads to Low-Level Felony for Killing Queens Pedestrian
A recidivist drunk driver who was charged with 10 felonies for killing a Queens pedestrian pled guilty to two low-level felony counts in a deal with District Attorney Richard Brown.
At around 4:30 a.m. on July 5, 2014, Romulo Mejia drove a Ford compact into a man who was walking at Roosevelt Avenue and 92nd Street in Jackson Heights, according to the Times Ledger.
Mejia then allegedly veered into oncoming traffic and crashed into an empty, parked car, according to the NYPD.
Police said Mejia refused to take a Breathalyzer or other sobriety field tests.
The victim died at the scene. His name and age were not reported.
Mejia, who was 42 at the time of the crash, is from Bradenton, Florida. Police told the Times Ledger he had a prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years. Court records indicate Mejia has been in jail since his arrest.
Brown charged Mejia with three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, four counts of vehicular manslaughter, one count of criminally negligent homicide, one count of aggravated DWI, one felony count of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, one misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and one misdemeanor count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The top charge against Mejia was aggravated vehicular homicide with a blood alcohol content of .18 or more, a class B “non-violent” felony with sentences ranging from 1 to 25 years in jail. According to court records, this week Brown allowed Mejia to plead to one count of criminally negligent homicide and one count of aggravated DWI, both class E felonies.
Class E is the lowest felony category in New York State, with a maximum penalty of four years in jail and a minimum of probation with no jail time.
In the relatively rare instances when he brings a case, Richard Brown has a history of negotiating lenient sentences for drivers who kill people, even when they were driving drunk. Mejia is scheduled to be sentenced in October.