Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
Jul. 27–STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – A city firefighter from Staten Island has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide for drunkenly slamming into another vehicle last month in Queens, killing the other driver, prosecutors allege.
John DaSilva’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit when his Jeep Grand Cherokee struck Grady Romero-Duarte’s car around 12:25 a.m. on June 30, said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
The crash occurred on 35th Avenue and 95th Street in Jackson Heights, Katz said.
DaSilva, 31, who was off-duty, was headed eastbound on 35th Avenue toward 95th Street, said Katz.
He was traveling at about 64 miles per hour when his Jeep barreled into Romero-Duarte’s 2017 BMW, said Katz. The victim was turning left onto 35th Avenue from 95th Street, said Katz.
The force of the impact spun the victim’s car counter-clockwise, and it hit four unoccupied autos on 35th Avenue, the D.A. said.
DaSilva’s Jeep struck another parked vehicle before stopping near the southeast corner of the intersection, Katz said.
Both DaSilva and Romero-Duarte were taken to the hospital, where the victim was later pronounced dead, said Katz.
A blood sample taken by a medical professional showed DaSilva’s blood alcohol content was .22%, prosecutors allege. The legal limit is .08%.
The aggravated vehicular homicide charge accuses DaSilva of causing the victim’s death while driving drunk with a blood alcohol content of .18% or more.
He’s also charged with second-degree manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.
DaSilva pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment last week in Queens state Supreme Court.
The defendant potentially faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted at trial of aggravated vehicular homicide.
He remains free on $15,000 bond, online state court records show.
His next court date is Sept. 30.
“Because of the defendant’s allege recklessness and selfish choices, another driver is dead and his loved ones left mourning a senseless loss of life,” said Katz in a statement. “Driving under the influence of alcohol is irresponsible and puts everyone on the road in danger.”
Authorities did not provide DaSilva’s street address.
A Fire Department spokesman said DaSilva has been suspended without pay.
He has been with the FDNY for six years and was assigned to Ladder 20 in Manhattan, the spokesman said.
DaSilva’s lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
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