FIREFIGHTER INDICTED ON AGGRAVATED VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CHARGES IN THE DEATH OF MOTORIST KILLED IN DRUNK DRIVING CRASH
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that FDNY firefighter John DaSilva, 31, has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and other crimes. The defendant is accused of being drunk when he drove and slammed into a vehicle, killing the driver on June 30, 2020, in Jackson Heights, Queens.
District Attorney Katz said, “Because of the defendant’s alleged recklessness and selfish choices, another driver is dead and his loved ones left mourning a senseless loss of life. Driving under the influence of alcohol is irresponsible and puts everyone on the road in danger.”
DaSilva, of Staten Island, was arraigned this morning before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll on a nine-count indictment. The defendant is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, assault and misdemeanor aggravated driving while intoxicated. Justice Zoll ordered the defendant to return to Court on September 30, 2021. DaSilva faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
District Attorney Katz said, according to the charges, around 12:23 a.m. on June 30, 2020, the defendant was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee at approximately 64 miles per hour heading eastbound on 35th Avenue toward 95th Street in Jackson Heights. The defendant’s vehicle allegedly barreled into Grady Romero-Duarte’s car as the victim was completing a left turn onto 35th Avenue from 95th Street. The force of the impact caused the victim’s 2017 BMW to spin counter-clockwise and collide with four unoccupied parked cars on 35th Avenue. The defendant’s Jeep went on to strike a fifth parked vehicle before stopping near the southeast corner of 35th Avenue and 95th Street.
Continuing, said the DA, emergency medical responders arrived at the scene shortly after the collision and both the defendant and the victim were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Mr. Romero-Duarte was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.
According to the investigation, a medical professional secured a blood sample at that time, which allegedly showed DaSilva had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 – nearly three times the legal limit.
Assistant District Attorney Jeremy H. Mo, of the Felony Trials Bureau IV, is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Adarna DeFrietas of the Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Karen Rankin, Bureau Chief of the Felony Trials IV, Robert Ferino and Timothy Regan, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, Neil Gitin, Unit Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Felony Trials Pishoy Yacoub.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.