Bay Ridge Man Sentenced to Up to Nine Years in Prison For Killing Young Cyclist While Driving Drunk

Monday, May 14, 2018


Bay Ridge Man Sentenced to Up to Nine Years in Prison
For Killing Young Cyclist While Driving Drunk

Swerved Across Center Median and Struck 17-Year-Old Victim Head On

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 26-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to up to nine years in prison for fatally striking 17-year-old Sean Ryan while driving drunk at a high rate of speed in Gerritsen Beach.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s reckless and criminal driving took the life of a promising teenager who was doing nothing more than riding his bike. I am determined to continue prosecuting dangerous motorists who kill others on Brooklyn’s roadways, which should be safe for everyone who uses them.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Thomas Groarke, 26, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew Sciarrino to an indeterminate sentence of three to nine years in prison following his guilty plea in March to second-degree manslaughter, which was offered by the Court over the prosecutor’s objection.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 17, 2016 at approximately 8:45 p.m., the defendant was driving a 2015 Honda Accord, returning with four passengers from a day of drinking at the Tiki Bar in Staten Island. The defendant was going approximately 80 mph on Gerritsen Avenue when, near the intersection of Florence Avenue, he swerved to pass a slower vehicle.

The defendant’s car crossed the center median and struck 17-year-old Sean Ryan, who was riding his bicycle in the other direction, killing him instantly, the evidence showed. Two other people suffered minor injuries. The defendant’s blood alcohol level was measured about two and a half hours after the crash at .14, nearly twice the legal limit of .08.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Nicole Itkin, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Green Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit.