From the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, press release dated December 21st:
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the indictment of Pat Quagliarello, 39, for speeding and texting on his phone while driving, hitting and killing a pedestrian, Manuel Tzajguachiac.
Quagliarello surrendered today before being arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court on charges including Leaving the Scene of an Incident without Reporting, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Reckless Driving and several traffic violation laws. Bail was set at $50,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum of two-and-a-third to seven years in prison.
On October 10, 2010, at approximately 12:30 AM, Quagliarello was driving eastbound towards the intersection of 65th Street and 20th Avenue at a high rate of speed, according to the indictment. The indictment charges that the defendant, a firefighter, was texting on his cell phone, when he crashed into the pedestrian, who later died. After the collision, the defendant is charged with fleeing the scene, leaving the victim lying in the street.
Search warrants were issued for Quagliarello’s car and home, and the victim’s DNA was found on the defendant’s car, according to the indictment.
On the face of things, the hit-and-run charge seems quite straightforward – assuming the DNA test is accurate. Proof of texting-while-driving seems more of a challenge.
Whatever the facts and outcome in this particular case we think that vehicular injuries are epidemic in Brooklyn. Criminal prosecutions will, without question, be part of reducing them. But we need to build a social consensus that (1) driving is inherently dangerous; (2) the acceptable number of vehicle-related deaths is none at all.