Richard Brown: Misdemeanor Plea for Accused Unlicensed Hit-and-Run Killer

In a deal with District Attorney Richard Brown, a driver charged with felony hit-and-run and driving without a license after fatally striking a Queens pedestrian has pled guilty to violating the city’s Right of Way Law.

richardbrown
Queens DA Richard Brown

Last February Valentine Gonzalez hit an unidentified woman with a box truck while turning left at Woodside Avenue and 76th Street, NYPD told Gothamist and WPIX. “Gonzalez fled, but was stopped by police a few blocks away,” Gothamist reported.

The victim died at the scene.

According to court records the top charge against Gonzalez was leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, a class D felony with potential sentences ranging from probation to seven years in jail. He was also charged with violating the Right of Way Law — an unclassified misdemeanor — operating a motor vehicle while unlicensed, and operating an unregistered vehicle.

On Monday Gonzalez pled guilty to the Right of Way Law charge, court records say. The law carries a fine of up to $250 and a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail. Court records indicate Gonzalez was in jail for four months after his arrest, then made bail.

Richard Brown routinely pleads down cases against drivers who kill people, rather than taking defendants to trial, to the extent that he files charges in the first place. Last week he allowed a repeat drunk driver who was charged with 10 felonies for killing a man to plead guilty to two low-level felony counts.

Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

  • AlexWithAK

    Brown is just awful. Even when the police actually go after people for killing with their vehicle, he has repeatedly watered down the penalties. A guy without a license runs someone down and takes off leaving them to die and the harshest punishment he’ll suffer is 30 days in jail. This is despicable and Brown is an embarrassment even among the NYC District Attorneys.

    If anyone is interested in writing to DA Brown to tell him how sickening his actions are, you can do so at this email address: ContactQDA@queensda.org

  • Wow, gee, to murder someone with a car in NYC, you don’t even need a license.

  • dave “paco” abraham

    “leaving the scene of an accident”? don’t you mean crash….

  • Brad Aaron

    That’s the charge. “Accident.”

  • D’BlahZero

    Highlighting what a load Cuomo’s “tough” stance on repeat DWI convictions is. http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/09/29/andrew-cuomo-could-still-save-thousands-of-lives-with-one-phone-call/#comment-2282152263

  • BBnet3000

    Yep. We’ve used the phrase “license to kill” before here but even in the “Vision Zero” era you don’t even need that to get away with killing someone with a motor vehicle.

  • Anandakos

    When is Brown scheduled to be sentenced?

  • neroden

    For Brown’s conspiracy to commit multiple homicides and corrupt the judicial system? Maybe after you elect a real DA. DAs have no legal immunity from criminal prosecution, but you need a DA to prosecute them.

  • neroden

    I’ m surprised nobody has run Brown over with a car yet… penalty is only $250 and 30 days in prison at most according to Brown.

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