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Posts from the "Daniel Donovan" Category

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No Homicide Charge for Unlicensed Curb-Jumping Driver Who Killed SI Woman

A motorist who crashed on a Staten Island sidewalk was charged by District Attorney Dan Donovan with driving without a license and drug possession, but not for killing one pedestrian and hospitalizing another.

Christal Aliotta. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Christal Aliotta. Photo via SI Advance

On the afternoon of June 9, a motorist jumped the curb and hit 31-year-old Christal Aliotta and her 20-year-old cousin Stephanie Canecchio as they walked along Hylan Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue in Great Kills. Aliotta, the mother of two young daughters, died at the scene. She was struck after reportedly pushing her cousin out of the driver’s path.

Police arrested Michael Fox, 23, who according to a criminal court complaint was found at the scene inside a 2005 Honda Accord with the engine running. The complaint says officers discovered a “hypodermic syringe, spoon with residue and tourniquet band” in the car, and found “two glassines containing heroin residue” in Fox’s pockets. Fox’s license had been suspended on May 23 for failure to answer a traffic summons, according to the complaint and the Staten Island Advance.

Fox was charged with possession of a controlled substance and third degree aggravated unlicensed operation, both misdemeanors. He was not charged with homicide or assault for killing Aliotta and injuring Canecchio. The criminal court complaint and arrest report only mention the victims in passing.

A spokesperson for Donovan’s office told Streetsblog prosecutors have Fox’s toxicology report, but declined to say what the results were. “[W]e are still reviewing them as the case is ongoing,” the spokesperson said via email.

On the day of her daughter’s wake, Lisa Canecchio said she wants Donovan to upgrade charges against Fox. From the Advance:

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DA Dan Donovan: Six Months for SI Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed 5 Year Old

A Staten Island motorist who fled the scene after hitting a mother and two young children, fatally injuring the woman’s 5-year-old son, will serve six months in jail under a plea deal from District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Kyrillos Gendy was killed by hit-and-run driver John Sanjurjo. Sanjurjo was not charged by Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan for killing Kyrillos or injuring his mother and sister, and will serve just six months in jail.

John Sanjurjo ran over Kyrillos Gendy, his 7-year-old sister Gabriella, and 35-year-old Erieny Thomas at around 8:25 p.m. on August 9, 2013, as they crossed Richmond Road. Kyrillos had “severe internal bleeding and no pulse” when he arrived at Staten Island University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Times. Gabriella suffered a broken ankle, and Ms. Thomas “had a gash on her face.”

Mr. [Adam] Gendy [Kyrillos's cousin] said the family had not yet told Gabriella what had happened. “That’s a conversation we’re trying to figure out,” he said. “The mom is just an emotional wreck right now. She barely speaks.”

Adam Gendy told the Times he last saw Kyrillos an hour before the crash. “He hugged me, gave me a kiss. He’s very innocent, very full of energy, very loving. Loved Marvel superheroes. Could name you all the superheroes.”

Sanjurjo, accompanied by an attorney, waited until the next day to turn himself in to police. ”Sanjurjo’s 2013 Mercedes-Benz 350 matched the vehicle description, including dents in the hood from the impact,” the Daily News reported. “The force of the impact sent Kyrillos flying through the air. Bits of scattered food that Kyrillos’ family was carrying were found on the car.”

On the day of Kyrillos’s funeral, Sanjurjo, 33, was arraigned and freed on $35,000 bail. He was charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury. ”You got the wrong guy, man,” Sanjurjo told reporters outside the courthouse.

A handful of times in recent memory, New York City district attorneys have brought homicide charges against sober drivers in fatal crashes. But Donovan did not charge Sanjurjo with assault or homicide for injuring Kyrillos’s mom and sister and leaving the boy to die in the street.

New York State law gives drivers an incentive to leave the scene of a serious crash. For one thing, the penalty for hit-and-run is less severe than the penalty for drunk driving. And under current law the decision to issue charges for leaving the scene rests on the ability to divine driver intent, lending credibility to the “I didn’t see him” defense. Cleaning up hit-and-run laws is one of the goals in the de Blasio administration’s Vision Zero plan.

On February 28, Sanjurjo pled guilty to the top leaving the scene charge, a class D felony that carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail, according to court records and the Staten Island Advance.

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Six Months in Jail and Five-Year License Suspension for SI Hit-and-Run Killer

The speeding hit-and-run killer of a Staten Island woman who died protecting her grandchild has been sentenced to six months in jail and a five-year license suspension, as the result of a plea deal from District Attorney Dan Donovan, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Clara Almazo died protecting her grandson from Brian McGurk, who in less than six years could be back behind the wheel. Photos via Advance

Clara Almazo, 52, was walking home from church with her daughter and grandson at around 9:50 p.m. on April 5, 2012, when she was hit by Brian McGurk on Cary Avenue at Elizabeth Street. Almazo pushed 8-year-old Brian Herrera-Ramirez out of the path of McGurk’s Ford SUV before she was struck, reports said.

In court last week, Assistant District Attorney Mark Palladino said McGurk was driving “well in excess” of 45 mph when he hit Almazo. Said one witness, whose home security system caught the crash on video: “The [SUV] threw her up into the air, from 10 to 20 feet. She went flying.”

Almazo, who had 10 kids and 10 grandchildren, died shortly after being transported to the hospital. Her grandson suffered a broken leg and has since recovered from his physical injuries. From the Advance:

“He wakes up at night crying,” [Almazo's daughter Sophia] Herrera said through a Spanish interpreter as muffled sobs rose from the gallery in state Supreme Court, St. George. “Every time he goes to school he has to cross that street.”

McGurk turned himself in to police some three hours after the crash. The Post reported that he was accompanied by his brother, who is an NYPD officer, and a second man, a former cop.

McGurk refused a blood alcohol test, a police source told the Advance. A source quoted by the Post a week after the crash said police investigated the possibility that McGurk was drunk, and noted a loophole in New York State law that gives motorists who have been drinking an incentive to flee the scene of a crash. “You face tougher charges if you stay and you’re drunk,” the source said.

According to the Advance, in court last week McGurk said “he didn’t realize at the time what had happened and went into a state of shock.”

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To Avoid Trial, DA Dan Donovan Grants Hit-and-Run Killer a Max of 1-3 Years

A hit-and-run driver may get as much as three years in jail, or no jail time at all, for striking and killing a Staten Island woman and injuring her grandson in Staten Island, under the terms of a plea deal with District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

For leaving Clara Almazo to die in the street, and wounding her 8-year-old grandson, Brian McGurk will get a maximum of three years in jail. Photos via Advance

Clara Almazo, 52, was walking home from church with her daughter and grandson at around 9:50 p.m. on April 5, 2012, when she was struck by Brian McGurk on Cary Avenue at Elizabeth Street. According to reports, Almazo pushed 8-year-old Brian Herrera-Ramirez out of the path of McGurk’s Ford SUV.

Court papers say McGurk was traveling “at a high rate of speed.” Said one witness, whose home security system caught the crash on video: “The [SUV] threw her up into the air, from 10 to 20 feet. She went flying.”

The child suffered a broken leg. Almazo, who had 10 kids and 10 grandchildren, died shortly after being transported to the hospital.

The Post reported that McGurk turned himself in to police some three hours after the crash. He was accompanied by his brother, who is an NYPD officer, and a former cop.

McGurk refused a blood alcohol test, a police source told the Advance. A source quoted by the Post noted a known loophole in New York State law that gives motorists who have been drinking an incentive to flee the scene of a crash.

“Investigators are looking into anything that may have played a role, including speeding and alcohol,” a law-enforcement source said.

“You face tougher charges if you stay and you’re drunk.”

McGurk was charged with leaving the scene and criminally negligent homicide — a Class E felony, the least severe of all felony categories. According to court records, he pled guilty to leaving the scene, a D felony that carries a penalty of up to seven years. Donovan spokesperson Douglas Auer said McGurk will be sentenced “up to a maximum of one to three years in prison,” according to the Advance. A Class D felony also allows for no jail time, or probation. Sentencing is scheduled for March 21.

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