Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that Edwin Vargas, 43, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving for allegedly being intoxicated while working at an Ozone Park car wash business and striking a woman and killing her as he drove a vehicle off the cleaning rack Monday afternoon.

District Attorney Katz said, “If you have a job that requires you to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, coming to work intoxicated is selfish and dangerous, with potentially fatal consequences. This is a heart-breaking, senseless tragedy and a woman who just wanted to get her car washed is dead because of the defendant’s alleged actions. He is in custody and faces serious charges.”

Vargas, of 102nd Street in Richmond Hill, was arraigned late last night before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jerry Iannece on a complaint charging him with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and driving while intoxicated. Judge Iannece set the defendant’s return date for February 19, 2021. If convicted, Vargas faces up to seven years in prison.

According to the charges, just before 2 p.m. on Monday, February 15, 2021, Vargas was working at the car wash and lube shop on Cross Bay Boulevard at Desarc Road at the same time the victim, Tracy McManus was there getting her car washed. The defendant was removing autos from the washing rack and driving them onto the adjacent lot to be hand-dried by his fellow employees.

DA Katz said that Vargas was behind the wheel of another customer’s 2011 gray Jeep Liberty when he drove the vehicle off the cleaning rack and slammed into the 54-year-old victim, who was walking towards her car after tipping other workers. Ms. McManus was rushed to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Responding police transported the defendant to the 112th Police Precinct where the defendant provided a breath sample that showed his blood alcohol content was allegedly .115. The legal limit is .08.

The investigation was conducted by Police Officer Jonathan Kammerer of the New York City Police Department’s 106th Precinct. The investigation was also conducted by Detective Frank Cardamone and Lieutenant Jagdeep Singh of the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Garland, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney’s Brad Leventhal, Bureau Chief, Peter McCormack III Senior Deputy Chief, John Kosinski, Deputy Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel Saunders.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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