Driver drunk and high on bath salts gets 18 years for Belt Parkway fatality
A North Carolina man who hit and killed a 55-year-old from Queens while drunk driving on the Belt Parkway near East New York was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday.
Milan Heggs, a 43-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina, was sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Laporte after he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in May 2017 after a jury trial. The hefty prison sentence is the result of a pattern of persistent violent felonies in his past and he faced up to life in prison.
“This defendant turned his vehicle into a deadly weapon by combining drugs with alcohol, then getting behind the wheel,” said Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez. “His reckless actions endangered many and caused an innocent man to be killed. He has now been held accountable for taking a life and destroying a family.”
It was just after midnight on April 30, 2015 when Heggs crashed his speeding car into the rear of another vehicle near the Pennsylvania Avenue exit on the Belt, according to the district attorney. The impact apparently caused the car to flip in the air and it landed on its roof. Heggs hit four other vehicles.
The victim was Joe Cavera, a 55-year-old from Bayside, Queens. Cavera had his spine and several ribs fractured, suffered internal bleeding and went into cardiac arrest as a result of the crash, according to prosecutors. He was pulled from the crash by an off-duty police officer, who performed CPR until emergency responders transported him to Brookdale Hospital where he died from his injuries.
The intoxicated driver’s blood alcohol level was measured at .10 over three hours after the crash, which prosecutors estimated was .16 at the time of the collision. He also tested positive for methylone, also known as bath salts, according to court documents.
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