On Friday, virtually a 12 months and a half after Lisa Rooney of Montauk was charged with drunken driving in a crash that killed a Montauk bicyclist, 28-year-old John James Usma-Quintero, she pleaded responsible to vehicular murder in Suffolk Supreme Courtroom, Riverhead.
Shortly after sundown on Oct. 30, 2019, Ms. Rooney, now 32, was on her means residence from a bar, driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, when she swerved onto the shoulder, hit a guardrail alongside Flamingo Street, and struck the bicycle owner, who was getting back from his day’s work on the Montauk 7-Eleven. He had been employed there for about 4 months, sending the cash again to Colombia to assist his two daughters, then 8 and 15 years previous.
Ms. Rooney informed police she had swerved to keep away from an oncoming automotive, however it was revealed months later, from her truck’s “black-box knowledge,” that she had been driving 85 miles per hour the place the velocity restrict is 40 m.p.h. She failed roadside sobriety exams and refused to take a blood take a look at again at headquarters, however exams taken hours later at Stony Brook College Hospital registered double the authorized blood-alcohol stage. Mr. Usma-Quintero was additionally taken to Stony Brook, the place he was pronounced useless.
Police discovered cocaine in a number of Ziploc baggage on the ground of the pickup truck, and a hint of the drug confirmed up within the toxicology report. On Friday earlier than Justice Richard Ambro, along with the highest cost of aggravated vehicular murder, she admitted to a different felonyâ manslaughter, and two misdemeanorsâ aggravated D.W.I. and legal possession of a managed substance.
Her case wound by no fewer than 4 courts on its option to Friday’s plea. The primary, on the day of Halloween 2019, was East Hampton City Justice Courtroom, the place Justice Lisa R. Rana launched her on $1,000 bail on the cost of driving whereas intoxicated and directed that she enter an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Ms. Rooney, a lifelong resident of Montauk who owns a enterprise there known as Girltauk, did so inside days.
She was nonetheless in residential drug therapy that December when her subsequent look right here was scheduled, and the case was adjourned. Forty of Mr. Usma-Quintero’s family and friends members had proven up at Justice Courtroom that day, and had been dismayed by her absence. The difficulty of her low bail was already a sore level -Ð the district legal professional had really useful $50,000 -Ð however Justice Rana, citing New York State’s impending bail reform legal guidelines, which had been to take impact on Jan. 1, 2020, defined that her fingers had been tied.
Later that December a grand jury returned an 11-count indictment, and the case moved to County Courtroom in Central Islip, earlier than Justice Fernando Camacho. He quickly recused himself, saying that he and the defendant’s mom, Bruna L. DiBiase, who’s a New York Metropolis decide, had been acquaintances. Each the prosecution and the protection had no drawback with that, however Justice Camacho stated it made him uncomfortable.
The case was transferred to Performing State Supreme Courtroom Justice Mark Cohen -Ð and the pandemic started, and the courts shut down. As 2020 got here to an finish, Justice Cohen retired.
Justice Richard Ambro was the final jurist to listen to the case. Legal professionals held a convention earlier than him on March 6, and on Friday Ms. Rooney entered her plea. She stays free, apparently nonetheless in rehab, as she has been all alongside, awaiting her sentencing look earlier than Justice Ambro on June 18. She faces a time period of 8 1/3 to 25 years in jail.