MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a homeless man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and five years’ post release supervision for running over a teenage skateboarder with his minivan in October 2017, seriously injuring the then 14-year-old victim.
Luis DeJesus, 43, pleaded guilty on September 7 before Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan to Assault in the First Degree (a B violent felony) and Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (an unclassified misdemeanor).
“This defendant acted with a depraved indifference to human life when he maliciously drove his van into a group of teenagers,” DA Singas said. “Our young victim suffered catastrophic injuries the night he was hit by that van, but through the exemplary work of doctors, nurses, his family, and his own strength he survived.”
DA Singas said that on October 27, 2017, at approximately 5:45 pm, seven teenage boys were walking and skateboarding together in the parking lot of the Cherry Valley Shopping Center in West Hempstead. As they were walking, a blue minivan being driven by the defendant drove by them and then made a U-turn.
The defendant then revved the minivan’s engine and drove directly at the teenagers. Several of the boys jumped out of the way of the oncoming vehicle, but one teenager, who was riding his skateboard, was struck and dragged underneath the van.
A group of good Samaritans held the defendant until Nassau County Police Department officers arrived and arrested the defendant. A further investigation determined that the defendant was drunk at the time of the crash, having a blood alcohol content of .20.
Following the incident, the victim – now 15 – was taken to Winthrop Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding and was hospitalized for five weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. To this day, the victim attends physical therapy three times a week, continues to suffer a brain bleed, permanent vision damage to his left eye, and has a large pulmonary embolism. He has returned to school on a part-time basis.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Diana Hedayati and Deputy Bureau Chief Michael Bushwack of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting this case. Nancy Garber, Esq. represents the defendant.