FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Weekday, June 27, 2018
Drunk Driver Sentenced to Up to 15 Years in Prison
For Killing Cyclist During Citywide Bike Tour
Plowed into Group of Cyclists with Minivan, Wounding Three Others;
Blood Alcohol Level Measured at More Than Three Times the Legal Limit
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 40-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for driving while intoxicated and slamming into a group of cyclists in the middle of a bike tour, killing one and wounding three others.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s decision to drink and then get behind the wheel caused mayhem and the death of an avid cyclist during what was supposed to be a festive bike tour. We will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who chooses to engage in blatant criminal behavior that endangers cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Abel Antonio Pina Morocho, 40, of Borough Park, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharon Hudson to an indeterminate sentence of five to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to aggravated vehicular homicide.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on September 10, 2017 at approximately 9:05 a.m., a group of 25-30 bicyclists, who were taking part in the Citywide Bike Tour, approached the intersection of 12th Avenue and 39th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn and stopped at a red light. The defendant, driving a Dodge Grand Caravan, was attempting to pull out of a parking spot. He struck a parked car in front of him and then drove out of the spot at a high rate of speed, striking multiple cyclists.
Nancy Pease, 55, was struck by the defendant’s minivan, fell in front of the vehicle and got lodged underneath. The defendant continued to lurch forward with the victim trapped under his car. When he finally came to a stop, witnesses pulled the defendant out of the driver’s seat and held him until police arrived, the evidence showed. The victim suffered serious injuries, including lacerations to the liver and spleen, intra-abdominal bleeding and a traumatic brain injury. She was in a coma until September 22, 2017, when she died of her injuries.
When the defendant struck the group with his car, he caused a cyclist to be thrown onto another cyclist, knocking both of them to the ground. A fourth cyclist was also knocked down and the defendant ran over his leg and his bicycle, according to the evidence. Those victims suffered scrapes, bruises and pain.
When police arrived, they observed the defendant exhibiting signs of intoxication. A breathalyzer test at the scene revealed that his blood alcohol level was .278, more than three times the legal limit of .08.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Hristova, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit.