September 6, 2013 | 933 views
L.B. man sentenced to eight years in prison after nearly killing teen
Drunk driver hit and dragged LBHS student 600 feet
A Long Beach man was sentenced to eight years in prison after he drove drunk, hit a 15-year-old girl crossing the street, and dragged her for 600 feet.
German Gutierrez, 50, pleaded guilty in May to the top charge of first-degree assault, depraved indifference, as well as aggravated driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury. He was sentenced by Judge Tammy Robbins on Friday.
“No amount of prison time will ever undo the physical and emotional damage that Mr. Gutierrez inflicted upon this innocent young girl, whose life is now changed forever,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “Today’s sentence, however, ensures that he pays a serious price for his crimes as a drunk driver.”
Rice said that just before 9 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2012, Gutierrez was driving his 2002 Jeep Liberty eastbound on East Beech Street in Long Beach without his headlights on when he drove through a stop sign at Edwards Boulevard and struck 15-year-old Sarah Coletti, a Long Beach High School student, who was walking her bicycle southbound across the street. Rather than stopping to help, Gutierrez kept driving, pinning Coletti beneath her bike and dragging her under his vehicle for more than 600 feet between Edwards and Riverside boulevards.
After Coletti fell away from the vehicle, Rice said that Gutierrez continued driving, striking a parked vehicle and driving on the sidewalk before coming to a stop in the street and falling out of his vehicle.
Coletti suffered such serious road rash injuries to the left side of her body that her knee and elbow joints were exposed, Rice said. Extensive skin grafts have resulted in permanent scarring.
Gutierrez told officers at the scene that he had consumed “like, a thousand drinks,” and hadn’t technically killed anyone. He registered a blood-alcohol content reading of .30 percent, more than three times the legal limit, five hours after the incident.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case for the D.A’s office. Gutierrez is represented by Kimberly Lerner, Esq.