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Drunk Driver Gets Max Sentence After Killing Pedestrian


Nov. 25, 2015 Staff Report

A motorist received up to eight years in prison for striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, according to the Queens District Attorney.

Florida resident Romulo Mejia, 43, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated. While driving drunk, Mejia struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the street — outside of the crosswalk — at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue/92nd Street.

He was arrested in July 2014 and held in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Judge Gregory Lasak doled out the maximum legal sentence, up to eight years in prison, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. Mejia also had his driver’s license revoked for one year and he will be required to install and use an ignition interlocking device on his vehicle for three years following his release from prison.

Mejia struck and killed Fernando Dorado, 38, last July.

At the time, police noted that Mejia’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, his speech slurred and his breath smelled like alcohol. The red Ford Focus he had been driving was facing eastbound in a westbound lane and apparently mounted the curb after crossing the double yellow lines and striking a parked car. The police also concluded that Mejia was driving faster than the 30 mph speed limit.

Mejia is the second motorist in the past week to receive the maximum sentence for his crime, Brown noted.

Nicholas Colleran, 25, of Astoria, was sentenced to up to four years in State prison for going through a stop sign and fatally striking Betty DiBiasio, 21, in June.

Colleran struck DiBiasio when she was walking in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 19th Street, and then fled.

Colleran admitted to the 114th Precinct that he had been driving after two beers and that he panicked and fled the scene after hitting DiBiasio. He did not produce a valid driver’s license.

He pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.

“These cases are yet two more tragic examples of how deadly motor vehicles can be and the lethal consequences of climbing behind the wheel of an automobile after consuming alcohol or ignoring traffic regulations,” Brown said. “Driving is a privilege, not a right, and extreme caution should – and must – be exercised at all times in order to prevent lives from being senselessly destroyed.”

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