By Rebecca Henely
An intoxicated 25-year-old Long Island City driver who fatally struck a bicyclist in Sunnyside will spend the next five years behind bars, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Alex Batista, of Van Dam Street near 35th Street, pleaded guilty last month to assault and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs for hitting Sunnyside resident Robert Hernandez, 37, the DA said. He received his sentence March 13 from acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, the DA said.
“The case is another example of the terrible consequences that can result from mixing alcohol and driving a motor vehicle,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “The defendant’s actions clearly show that he is a threat to public safety, as well as to himself.”
On July 18, 2012, Batista had been speeding eastbound down Greenpoint Avenue in a 2006 black Infinity M35 four-door sedan when he struck the rear of Hernandez’s bike at around 10:51 p.m., the DA said. The impact threw Hernandez, who was riding with the eastbound traffic on Greenpoint Avenue, between 39th Place and 39th Street, onto the hood of the sedan, the DA said. His body then hit the windshield and was thrown off onto Greenpoint Avenue near 39th Place, the DA said.
Hernandez died within six minutes after the collision from significant head and body trauma, the DA said.
Authorities found Batista later at 58-16 Laurel Hill Blvd., about 10 blocks from the crash, the DA said. He appeared to have crashed his sedan into the building and was found lying on the sidewalk a few car-lengths away, the DA said.
Police reported he had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred his speech when he spoke, smelled of alcohol and acted belligerently, the DA said. The officers also found two bags of marijuana on him, the DA said.
Chin-Brandt’s sentence for Batista not only includes five years in prison but also three years’ post-release supervision and a $1,000 fine, the DA said. Batista must also install an ignition interlock device in every vehicle he owns for three years following his release from prison that would require a negative breathalyzer test before he could drive the car, the DA said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.