January 14, 2013 | 431 views
Driver who struck L.B. teen faces 25 years in jail
Rice: Charges upgraded against drunk hit and run motorist who dragged LBHS student under his SUV
A Long Beach man who allegedly told police that he had “like, a thousand drinks,” before he struck a 15-year-old Long Beach High School student on Labor Day and dragged her underneath his Jeep for an entire block, has been slapped with additional charges following a grand jury indictment.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced on Monday that a grand jury has upgraded the charges against 49-year-old German Gutierrez, who was arrested in September and charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, second-degree vehicular assault, and leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury after he struck Long Beach High School junior Sarah Colletti.
Rice said that Gutierrez also has now been charged with first and second-degree assault, first and second-degree aggravated assault, aggravated vehicular assault, first-degree vehicular assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, aggravated driving while intoxicated, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. Gutierrez faces up to 25 years in prison, and a minimum of five years, if convicted.
A spokesman for Rice said that Gutierrez had posted a $15,000 bond after his arrest in September. Judge Tammy Robbins declined Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza’s request to increase Gutierrez’s bond to $30,000 at his arraignment on the new charges last Monday, but did suspend his driver’s license.
According to Rice, the incident occurred on Sept. 3 between 8:30 and 9 p.m., when Gutierrez, driving his 2002 Jeep Liberty east on East Beech Street without his headlights on, ignored a stop sign at Edwards Boulevard and struck Colletti, as the teen reportedly crossed the street while she walked with a bicycle and a group of friends.
Sgt. Eric Cregeen, a Police Department spokesman, said at the time that Colletti and her bike became wedged underneath Gutierrez’s vehicle when it struck her. Instead of stopping to help the teen, Gutierrez kept driving in an attempt to flee the scene, Rice said, and pinned Colletti beneath her bike before he dragged her under his vehicle for more than 600 feet between Edwards and Riverside boulevards.