Drunk Driver Who Killed Queens Boy Could Get Just Two Months In Jail
June 22, 2005
A man charged with drunk driving in an accident that killed an 11-year-old boy and ultimately led to a strengthening of the state's drunk driving laws may serve just two months behind bars.
John Wirta was facing up to a year in prison, but the Daily News reports that a plea deal, expected to be finalized Thursday, would call for Wirta to serve just 60 days in prison, 15 days of community service, and three years probation.
Wirta struck and killed Vasean Alleyne and seriously injured 12-year-old Angel in October, 2004 when he struck them with his van while they were crossing 73rd Avenue and 159th Street in Kew Garden Hills, Queens.
Police said Wirta failed a sobriety test following the accident, but the Queens district attorney's office said there wasn't sufficient evidence to charge him with a felony. Wirta was only charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, because of an absence of any aggravating factors, such as speeding or running a red light.
The law has since been changed, but it was the old law that applied to Wirta.
The mothers of both boys pushed aggressively to get state legislators to sign the bill that became known as "Vasean's Law." Under the new law, drunk drivers who kill can be charged with a felony without any evidence of aggravating factors and can face up to seven years in jail.