A convicted drunk driver from North Carolina will spend the next two decades in a New York prison for causing a Brooklyn crash that claimed a Bayside man’s life.
Milan Heggs, 43, of Raleigh, North Carolina was ordered on Oct. 16 to serve 18 years behind bars; he was convicted in May 2017 on a second-degree manslaughter charge, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Prosecutors said Heggs caused the death of Bayside resident Joe Cavera, 55, in April 2015 after he plowed into the rear of the victim’s vehicle on the Belt Parkway. Responding police officers found that Heggs exhibited signs of intoxication, and tests later revealed that he had a highly elevated blood alcohol level.
“This defendant turned his vehicle into a deadly weapon by combining drugs with alcohol, then getting behind the wheel,” Gonzalez said. “His reckless actions endangered many and caused an innocent man to be killed. He has now been held accountable for taking a life and destroying a family.”
Law enforcement sources said the deadly crash occurred just after midnight on April 30, 2015, on the eastbound lanes of the Belt Parkway near the Pennsylvania Avenue exit.
According to prosecutors, Cavera was inside his car while stuck in traffic when Heggs’ vehicle — while traveling at a high rate of speed — smashed into the rear of the victim’s ride, and struck four other vehicles.
Despite the impact, authorities said, Heggs continued driving his vehicle before finally coming to a stop after sliding into a guardrail.
Police officers who responded to the accident pulled Cavera from his damaged vehicle; he had suffered injuries that included a fractured spine, several broken ribs and internal bleeding. Cavera went into cardiac arrest, and the officers administered CPR in a desperate attempt to save his life until paramedics arrived.
EMS units rushed Cavera to Brookdale Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Cops located Heggs and found him displaying signs of intoxication. When initially a breathalyzer test, prosecutors said, Heggs blew lightly into the device, which resulted in a false, low alcohol reading. He was later taken to Brookdale Hospital after complaining of back and neck pain.
Three hours after the crash, he was tested a second time and found to have a blood alcohol level of .10, well above the .08 legal limit. Prosecutors estimated that his blood alcohol level at the time of the collision was .16, double the legal limit.
Further tests revealed that Heggs was also high on methylone, a “bath salt” similar to ecstasy.