Sections

Boro moms lobby for tough DWI law

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Monique Dixon's son, Vasean Alleyne, 11, and Diana Reyes' son, Angel, 12, were struck by a van driven by Fresh Meadows repairman, John Wirta, as they were crossing a street in Flushing Oct. 22. The accident left Vasean dead and put Angel in a weeklong coma.The mothers left for Albany two days after the Queens district attorney announced in State Supreme Court Friday that their investigation of Wirta, 56, found no additional signs of negligence that would justify raising the charges from a DWI, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of only one year in jail.Dixon blamed the state Assembly, not the DA, for Wirta's light charges. "(Vasean's) life was worth nothing according to the laws of this state," she said at a news conference Sunday in Kew Garden Hills near where her son was killed. "I feel like New York has failed me."With more than 70 appointments lined up with Assembly members during their three-week trip upstate, Dixon and Reyes said they hoped to pressure the house and Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), in particular, to introduce a bill that would make all DWI offenses which caused death or injury to others a felony regardless of any additional traffic violations.Several Queens legislators support what has come to be called "Vasean's Law." "We need to stiffen DWI laws, therefore untying the hands of the DA," said Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing), who joined Assembly members Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing), Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) as well as state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) at the news conference.McLaughlin noted that 46 other states already have laws that "presume that drunk driving is the same as any other weapon used to kill someone."Silver has expressed a desire to help the mothers and previously introduced legislation to make drunk drivers more accountable. But Dixon called the bill "weak" compared to the Senate-backed "Vasean's Law."On the steps outside the Kew Gardens courthouse Friday, Reyes called the decision to hold Wirta only on DWI charges "a slap in the face.""I pray the next time this happens, the killer won't do a year in jail like it was shoplifting," she said.A tearful Dixon left the courtroom before the result of the DA's investigation was even announced.Wirta's attorney, Anthony Rattoballi, said his client's reaction was "thank god." He said the case would now go to the lower courts with the next date set for April 1.Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group