A 24-year-old Flushing man who was driving without a license in a crash, which claimed the life of a beloved PS 79 teacher on New Year’s Eve, has pleaded guilty to charges related to the accident.
Annamarie Tromp had been driving mere blocks from her Flushing home when she was struck by Anthony Zupnick’s car in a collision that flipped her 2012 Nissan, the NYPD said. Zupnick, whose license had been suspended nine times before the accident, according to the Queens district attorney’s office, was arrested shortly afterward. He stayed at the scene until the police arrived.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle of the third degree and reckless driving June 27. He was slapped with $650 in fines and 10 days of community service for the charges.
Tromp’s family took little solace in the penalties.
“We’re very disappointing with the outcome,” said Louisa Anastasi, Tromp’s sister, in an interview. “The laws need to be changed to stop this from happening again. Do we feel this young man learned a lesson? Certainly not.”
Anastasi said the family had hoped the man they hold responsible for their loved one’s death would at least face some time in jail.
“He’ll be on the road again. It’s terrifying,” she said. “We were hoping he would learn a lesson from it and save somebody else’s life.”
An attorney who represented Zupnick in court did not return requests for comment.
Hundreds attended Tromp’s funeral in January and PS 79 held a memorial service for the well-liked teacher shortly after her death. Tromp, who taught pre-K at PS 79 in Whitestone for years, was remembered fondly by parents and colleagues as a wonderful teacher who treated all her students as if they were her own children.
She was the type of teacher who former students would come back to see years after they left PS 79, parents said.
Tromp’s family has been struggling to deal with the loss during the court proceedings that resulted in Zupnick’s plea.
“Some days are better than others and some days are just horrific,” Anastasi said.
The family was struck with an eerily similar tragedy in 2007, when Tromp’s mother, Connie Anastasi, died in a two-car accident in Broadway-Flushing.
“How could this happen down the block from her house?” Anastasi said of Tromp’s accident. “Where was he going in such a hurry and how could he not have seen her? We have so many unanswered questions.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2014 Community News Group
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