FDNY firefighter indicted in death of motorist in Jackson Heights drunk driving crash: DA

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A Queens grand jury indicted an FDNY firefighter on aggravated vehicular homicide charges in the death of a motorist in a Jackson Heights drunk driving collision last year, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Firefighter John DaSilva, 31, is accused of being drunk when he got behind the wheel and slammed into another vehicle on June 30, 2020, the DA said.

DaSilva was arraigned Wednesday, July 21, before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll and is facing a nine-count indictment charging him with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide and other charges.

It was just after midnight on June 30, 2020, when DaSilva was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee at approximately 64 miles per hour heading eastbound on 35th Avenue toward 95th Street in Jackson Heights, according to the charges. DaSilva’s vehicle allegedly barreled into Grady Romero-Duarte’s car as the victim was completing a left turn onto 35th Avenue from 95th Street.

The force of the impact caused the victim’s 2017 BMW to spin counter-clockwise and collide with four unoccupied parked cars on 35th Avenue. The defendant’s Jeep went on to strike a fifth parked vehicle before stopping near the southwest corner of 35th Avenue and 95th Street, according to the charges.

Katz said emergency medical responders arrived at the scene shortly after the collision and both the defendant and the victim were taken to an area hospital for treatment. Romero-Duarte was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter.

According to the investigation, a medical professional secured a blood sample at the time, which allegedly showed DaSilva had a blood alcohol level of 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit.

“Because of the defendant’s alleged recklessness and selfish choices, another driver is dead and his loved one left mourning a senseless loss of life,” Katz said. “Driving under the influence of alcohol is irresponsible and puts everyone on the road in danger.”

Justice Zoll ordered the defendant to return to court on Sept. 30. DaSilva faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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