Rockland County, NY – A Spring Valley man has been sentenced to prison for his part in a road rage incident that took the life of a Jewish baby from Monsey just over seven months ago.
63 year old Albert Gomez was ordered to serve 15 to 48 months in a state penitentiary on Tuesday for the death of three month old Mayer Braun, as reported by The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2EmMdzZ).
Gomez was heading westbound on Route 59 on June 26th when he got angry at a taxi driver who he believed had cut him off. Driving up on the shoulder of the roadway to pass the taxi on the right side, Gomez inadvertently struck four members of the same family as they walked on the shoulder of the road which has no sidewalks, as previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2EsIX64).
A 38 year old woman and her three children were all seriously injured, with the baby succumbing to his injuries less than two weeks later at Westchester Medical Center.
Gomez was originally charged on nine different counts, which were later updated to include both manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide after the infant’s death. A November plea bargain deal had Gomez pleading guilty only to manslaughter.
Appearing in court in an orange prison jumpsuit, chains and handcuffs, Gomez was too overwhelmed to read a letter of apology to the court, reported News 12 (http://bit.ly/2EqflWV).
“I take complete, 100 percent responsibility for what happened on that day,” said the apology, which was read aloud by Gomez’s attorney.
Judge David Zuckerman reprimanded Gomez, telling him that his reckless actions had devastating results.
“In essence you destroyed two families,” said Zuckerman. “The Brauns and your own.”
Zuckerman acknowledged that, given the opportunity, he would have relished slapping Gomez with a lengthier jail term.
“This was not an appropriate sentence, more specifically, it was my view that you should have been sentenced to more time than I am about to give you,” said Zuckerman.
While no members of the Braun family were in court for the sentencing, they reportedly told District Attorney Thomas Zugibe that they supported the sentence.
Members of the public seemed to side with Zuckerman’s feelings that Gomez should have been given a longer sentence with Hudson Valley Wire posting on Facebook “15 months?!” accompanied by a shocked emoji and Allyson Fernandez submitting a comment to News 12 saying “You get 1 year for a bag of weed. Wow.”
Mayer Braun’s death had lawmakers and local advocates calling for greater safety measures on Route 59, a shopping strip dotted with stores and few sidewalks to accommodate the many walkers in the area.
A Facebook post written by State Senator David Carlucci in June called upon the state to begin scheduled improvements on Route 59 slated for summer 2018 immediately. Those modifications, which include 3,000 feet of new sidewalk, repairs to existing sidewalks and installing curb cuts to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, have yet to be started.