Guilty Plea In Driving Death

Published on August 10, 2010, 10:44 pm
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A Bronx woman plead guilty today to manslaughter and other charges in a drunk-driving accident that killed an 11-year-old girl and injured six other girls last October.

Prosecutors had alleged that Carmen Huertas, 32, was intoxicated and driving 18 miles over the speed limit when she lost control of her station wagon on the Henry Hudson Parkway last year. Leandra Rosado was killed in the accident.

Ms. Huertas was driving her daughter and six of her daughter’s friends, ages 11 to 14, from Manhattan to her home in the Bronx for a sleepover, prosecutors said. Ms. Huertas had been drinking at birthday party in Chelsea earlier in the evening, prosecutors said.

“In pleading guilty to the charges against her, Carmen Huertas is acknowledging criminal responsibility for this tragic incident,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said.

The case inspired a new law in New York state, known as Leandra’s Law, that made it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a child in the car, Mr. Vance said.

Ms. Huertas pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree and other charges at a hearing in state court in Manhattan on Tuesday. She faces up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge. Sentencing is set for October 1, 2010.

“Since the first day, Carmen has always expressed deep remorse for her actions and conduct and [for] the tragic death of Leandra,” said Steven A. Rubin, a lawyer for Ms. Huertas. “She is a good mother and a caring wife who made a tragic decision. We are hopeful that the judge will temper society’s desire to punish with the recognition that her life should not be thrown away.”

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