By Jeremy Walsh
Milton Flores, 20, pleaded guilty last month to vehicular assault and reckless endangerment in the Aug. 14 crash that killed 19-year-old East Elmhurst resident Jonathan Reyes and left 16-year-old Jackson Heights resident Amy Koo paralyzed from the waist down. Flores did not speak during the April 2 hearing, but Koo and Reyes's parents did.”I suffer every day from physical and mental issues,” Koo said. “I feel that Milton Flores should be held accountable for his actions.”Nelson Reyes, 58, Jonathan's father, said he wanted to see justice done.”For us, our life is different,” he said through a Spanish interpreter. “The colors, the flavors, the food – everything is different.””I am destroyed,” said Luz Reyes, 56, Jonathan's mother, also through a Spanish interpreter. “My heart is broken.”Paul Petrus, Flores's attorney, said his client was sorry for causing the crash. Petrus said he first visited his client in the hospital shortly after the accident.”I told him, 'I'll do everything I can for you,' ” Petrus said. “He looked me in the eye and said, 'I don't care about that. He was my best friend.' “But Johanna Reyes, Jonathan's older sister, scorned Flores's contrition.”Tell Jonathan how sorry he is not to celebrate his 20th birthday,” she said outside the courtroom. “I will never forgive him.”Flores admitted to smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Trailblazer the night of the crash, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Flores was racing another vehicle on the Cross Island Parkway at speeds of more than 70 mph when the two cars made contact as they merged onto the Whitestone Expressway, Brown said. The cars lost control and collided.Jonathan Reyes, a skinny young man whom his family said he loved hip-hop music and handball, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital. Koo, 23-year-old Elmhurst resident Elder Valencia and 19-year-old Marcus Akus were all ejected from the car and hospitalized in critical condition. Henry Hernandez, 19, of Jackson Heights was not ejected, but was also listed in critical condition.In the other car, a Honda Civic driven by 18-year-old Bolivar Camacho of East Elmhurst, 20-year-old Enterprise, Ala., resident Jonathan Garcia was thrown out of the car and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.Flores and Camacho were arraigned Aug. 15 on charges of manslaughter, vehicular assault, criminally negligent homicide and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Flores eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of vehicular assault. Camacho's next court date was April 9.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.