An 18-year-old Rockland County man has pleaded responsible to all 17 counts he was indicted on in reference to a 2021 DWI crash that killed a 16-year-old classmate and critically damage three others in his car, prosecutors mentioned Wednesday.
Joseph DeBellis, of Airmont, was 17 when he was behind the wheel of a 2003 Jaguar sedan that veered uncontrolled, splitting a utility pole in half earlier than flipping on its aspect on Route 202 in Montebello final April.
Jacqueline Zangrilli, who was within the backseat, died. She was solely 16. Zangrilli attended Suffern Excessive Faculty together with the opposite individuals within the automobile. Three of them have been hospitalized following the crash and have been anticipated to completely recuperate from their accidents.
Prosecutors say DeBellis rejected a plea deal that will have despatched him to state jail for as much as 4 years in change for a responsible plea to aggravated vehicular murder. As an alternative, DeBellis pleaded responsible to all 17 counts within the indictment, permitting the courtroom to condemn him to 6 months incarceration adopted by 5 years’ post-release probation.
Prosecutors say they objected to the lesser sentence, noting DeBellis was drunk and driving at speeds in extra of 80 mph when he brought about the lethal crash. It wasn’t clear the place the underage driver received the alcohol.
“No mother or father ought to ever need to bury their very own youngster,” Rockland County District Legal professional Thomas Walsh II mentioned in a press release asserting the sentence Wednesday. “Consuming whereas driving is an egregious offense that’s simply preventable. We should use tragic occasions like this as studying classes for our teenagers, that your actions and choices have actual penalties. My heartfelt sympathies exit to the Suffern group and the households impacted by this tragedy.”
Buddies of the sufferer who misplaced her life made the identical level virtually a 12 months in the past.
“It is devastating, does not appear actual,” Malcolm Sloan, a pal of Zangrilli, mentioned on the time of the lethal accident. “We all know what we’re and are not speculated to do, and it is devastating to see individuals go on the market and make these errors that we be taught time and time once more will not be acceptable.”