Efren Moreano, 20, the driver of the wrong way vehicle on the Sprain Brook Parkway who struck and killed an NYPD detective in the early morning hours of February 28, 2015, has been charged with second degree manslaughter, a class D felony. Mr. Moreano has been in a medically induced coma since the accident. His arraignment was done in the Westchester County Medical Center before Superior Court judge Robert Neary. If and when Mr. Moreano is well enough to participate in the legal proceedings against him, the case will initially be transferred to the Greenburgh Town Court, and if the charges are not reduced to a non-felony (which is very unlikely), the case will then be moved to the Westchester County Court, which has jurisdiction of felonies, unlike town and village Courts.
On February 28, 2015, at approximately 4:00 AM, Mr. Moreano was operating his 2013 Honda Civic northbound in the southbound lanes of the Sprain parkway. Paul Duncan, a 46 year old, seventeen year veteran detective employed by the NYPD and married father of a teenage daughter, was traveling southbound. Mr. Duncan was operating a 2011 Honda Pilot. Apparently, Mr. Moreano had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.11%. The legal limit for intoxication pursuant to the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law is 0.08%. Mr. Duncan died at the scene.
The fatal wrong way crash is the latest in a long line of tragedies on Hudson Valley highways and parkways since 2009. Most notably, in July of 2009, a few miles north of the Duncan tragedy, Diane Schuler, a Cablevision executive who had a BAC of 0.18% (more than double the legal limit of 0.08% and chargeable as an “Aggravated DWI”), drove southbound in the northbound lanes for several miles with her infant daughter, five year old son, and three nieces ages ten and under in the car. Schuler struck a northbound vehicle occupied by three men. The only survivor of this horrific crash was Schuler’s five year old son.
The Schuler tragedy was instrumental in the movement to strengthen the DWI laws in New York. As a direct result, drivers who plead guilty or are convicted after a trial of a DWI, Aggravated DWI, felony DWI or other impaired driving offenses with serious injuries or death, must install, at their own cost and expense, in any vehicle they own or operate, an ignition interlock device which will not allow the car to start or continue to operate once started unless the operator has alcohol free breath.
If Mr. Moreano pleads guilty to or is convicted of second degree vehicular manslaughter, he is facing a minimum of 12 years in prison and a maximum of twenty five years. Additionally, because the victim was an employee of the NYPD, Mr. Moreano is very unlikely to receive any mercy from the Court and will have a tough road getting any concessions from the District Attorney’s Office.
If you or a family member have suffered serious injuries in a motor vehicle crash, slip/trip and fall accident, or in a bus, truck or motorcycle crash, please contact the experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail and how our firm can help.