QUEENS COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTS CAR WASH EMPLOYEE ON VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER AND DRUNK DRIVING CHARGES IN DEATH OF WOMAN STRUCK WHILE WALKING TO HER JUST-CLEANED AUTO
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced today that a Queens County grand jury has indicted Edwin Vargas Tabares, 43, who was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on vehicular manslaughter and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol charges. The defendant was allegedly intoxicated while working at an Ozone Park car wash business and struck and killed a woman when he drove a vehicle off the cleaning rack last month.
District Attorney Katz said, “The victim in this case was running the most mundane errand when she senselessly lost her life. A simple trip to the car wash turned tragic owing to the defendant’s allegedly selfish act of driving, while employed and on duty at the car wash, while intoxicated.”
Tabares, of 102nd Street in Richmond Hill, was arraigned yesterday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez on a 3-count indictment charging him with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Justice Lopez set a return date for May 3, 2021. If convicted, Tabares faces up to seven years in prison.
According to the indictment, just before 2 p.m. on Monday, February 15, 2021, Tabares was working at the car wash and lube shop on Cross Bay Boulevard at Desarc Road at the same time the victim, Tracie 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 co-workers.
DA Katz said that Tabares was behind the wheel of another customer’s 2011 gray Jeep Liberty when he drove the vehicle from the car washing rack and then allegedly struck 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 Jamie-Lynn Burns, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau IV, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney John Kosinski, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorneys Karen Rankin, Chief, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau IV, and Robert Ferino and Timothy Regan, Deputy Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Trials Pishoy Yacoub.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.