Brooklyn Boro

Drunk driver sentenced to up to 15 years in for killing cyclist during citywide bike tour

June 27, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Abel Antonio Pina Morocho. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn DA's office
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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today that a 40-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for driving while intoxicated and slamming into a group of cyclists in the middle of a bike tour, killing one and wounding three others.

Abel Antonio Pina Morocho, 40, of Borough Park was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Sharon Hudson to an indeterminate sentence of five to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to aggravated vehicular homicide.

On Sept. 10, 2017 at approximately 9:05 a.m., a group of 25-30 bicyclists, who were taking part in the Citywide Bike Tour, approached the intersection of 12th Avenue and 39th Street in Borough Park and stopped at a red light. Morocho, driving a Dodge Grand Caravan, was attempting to pull out of a parking spot. He struck a parked car in front of him and then drove out of the spot at a high rate of speed, striking multiple cyclists.

Nancy Pease, 55, was struck by the minivan, fell in front of the vehicle and got lodged underneath. Morocho continued to lurch forward with the victim trapped under his car. When he finally came to a stop, witnesses pulled the defendant out of the driver’s seat and held him until police arrived, the evidence showed. The victim suffered serious injuries, including lacerations to the liver and spleen, intra-abdominal bleeding and a traumatic brain injury. She was in a coma until Sept. 22, 2017, when she died of her injuries.

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When the defendant struck the group with his car, he caused a cyclist to be thrown onto another cyclist, knocking both of them to the ground. A fourth cyclist was also knocked down and the defendant ran over his leg and his bicycle, according to the evidence. Those victims suffered scrapes, bruises and pain.

When police arrived, they observed the defendant exhibiting signs of intoxication. A breathalyzer test at the scene revealed that his blood alcohol level was .278, more than three times the legal limit of .08.

“This defendant’s decision to drink and then get behind the wheel caused mayhem and the death of an avid cyclist during what was supposed to be a festive bike tour,” District Attorney Gonzalez said. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who chooses to engage in blatant criminal behavior that endangers cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.”

—Information from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office

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