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, 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.”