Eduardo Henriquez is the father of an infant who he removed from the car of Carmen Huertas when he learned that she was about to drive drunk with the infant in the vehicle. He did not remove any of the other 7 children in the car. Ms. Huertas then allegedly drove off quickly, bragged to the children pleading for her to slow down that she would go even faster once they got on the highway, and then lost control of her car on the Henry Hudson Parkway, swerved off near the West 96th Street exit, flipped over and rolled several times before slamming into a tree.
The car flipped several times before coming to rest on the shoulder of the road. Three children were ejected from the car. 11-year old Leandra Rosado died within minutes of the crash. One other girl, Yiselle Rosario, was hospitalized. Yiselle spent nine hours in surgery but survived with two broken legs and a back injury. Carmen Huertas tested .13% on a blood alcohol analysis following the October 11, 2009 crash. Prosecutors claim Huertas drank for hours before getting behind the wheel. She was driving her own 11-year-old and six of her daughters friends to a sleepover at her home.
She has been indicted on charges of manslaughter, assault and driving under the influence of alcohol and faces up to 15 years in prison. She has entered a plea ofnot guilty. Prosecutors may be considering charging Henriquez and the man who told him that Huertas was too drunk to drive with endangering the welfare of a minor. These charges were considered but not pursued in the tragic summertime accident involving Diane Schuler on the Taconic State Parkway. That crash resulted in her death and the death of her daughter, three nieces and three men in an SUV she hit. There did not seem to be any proof that any relative knew or should have known that Mrs. Schuler was unfit to drive.
Here it seems uncontroverted that others knew Ms. Huertas was drunk and that her driving would be dangerous to the children passengers. And they did do some things about it. The question is whether they did enough, and if not, do these shortcomings rise to the level of neglect. Should they have taken the car key? Should or could they have done something else to keep her from driving? Should they have called the police right away? Should more relatives have been summoned to remove more of the children? Is it fair to expect someone to do more in what was apparently a highly-charged situation where things may have been happening very quickly? Was there time to do more before Huertas drove off? Lenny Rosada, Leandra’s father, is outraged that other parents at the party did not do more to protect the children.
The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving auto accidents. For over 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Levine & Slavit for their help. To learn more, watch our videos.