Richard Brown: Probation for Accused Unlicensed Hit-and-Run Killer

A driver charged with felony hit-and-run and unlicensed driving got probation and a few days of community service for a crash that killed a pedestrian, as a result of a plea deal with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

richardbrown
Queens DA Richard Brown

On the evening of February 22, the unidentified victim was crossing at 76th Street and Woodside Avenue, in a crosswalk and with the right of way, when Valentine Gonzalez hit her with a box truck while turning left. NYPD told Gothamist and WPIX Gonzalez fled the scene and was apprehended a short distance away.

According to court records, the top charge against Gonzalez was leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, a class D felony with penalties ranging from probation to seven years in jail. He was also charged with operating a motor vehicle while unlicensed, operating an unregistered vehicle, and a violation of code Section 19-190 — the Right of Way Law — which is an unclassified misdemeanor.

In September Brown allowed Gonzalez to plead guilty to the Right of Way Law charge. The law carries a fine of up to $250 and a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail. Court records indicate Gonzalez was jailed for four months after his arrest.

Earlier this month Gonzalez was sentenced to three years probation and five days of community service, according to court records. Gonzalez was also fined $88. There is no indication that the court took action against Gonzalez’s driving privileges.

Richard Brown, whose leniency toward drivers who kill and injure people is well-documented, was recently elected to another term after running unopposed.

  • vnm

    “There is no indication that the court took action against Gonzalez’s driving privileges.” You’d think the lead they could do is take away his license. Oh, wait a minute, he didn’t have a license to begin with! What’s the point of drivers’ licenses again?

  • armyvet00

    Just think- if one of Brown’s family was murdered like this, I’m sure he’d go for probation……

  • Joe R.

    Apparently there is no point to driver’s licenses since there are very light penalties for driving without one. At the very least, unlicensed driving should result in forfeiture of the vehicle you’re driving (and its contents), plus permanent license revocation. It should also result in permanent license revocation of the vehicle’s owner (assuming the owner of a vehicle lends it to someone who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license).

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