firetruck

A city Firefighter faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on multiple charges related to a June 30, 2020 motor vehicle crash that killed a motorist in Jackson Heights, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

A Queens grand jury has indicted Firefighter John DaSilva, 31, of Staten Island, who was accused of driving with a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, with additional charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter.

Suspended Without Pay

Mr. DaSilva, a six-year veteran, was suspended without pay for four weeks by the FDNY. Any potential departmental charges will be held in abeyance, pending the resolution of the criminal case.

"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," DA Katz said in a statement. 

On July 21, Mr. DaSilva was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll on a nine-count indictment. The judge ordered him to return to court Sept. 30.

According to the District Attorney, "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" when the vehicle "allegedly barreled into Grady Romero-Duarte's car as the victim was completing a left turn onto 35th Avenue from 95th Street."

A Fearsome Impact

 Prosecutors said the force of the impact caused the victim's 2017 BMW to spin counter-clockwise, colliding with four unoccupied and parked cars on 35th Avenue. Mr. DaSilva's Jeep came to a standstill only after it hit a fifth parked vehicle near the southeast corner of 35th Avenue and 95th Street.

Both Mr. DaSilva and Mr. Romero-Duarte were transported to the hospital, where. Mr. Romero Duarte died.

"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," the DA's Office reported.

A call to Mr. DaSilva 's attorney was not returned.


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