Aug. 18, 2021 By Christian Murray
A hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a pedestrian in Woodside while driving drunk pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated vehicular homicide, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Jorge Samaniego, 51, of Maspeth, struck a pedestrian in the crosswalk at Broadway and 60th Street at around 8 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2019, after fleeing a collision at Broadway and 55th Street moments earlier.
“Mr. Samaniego made the selfish decision to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “His actions led to multiple collisions and the death of a man who had simply been taking a walk in the neighborhood. No one has the right to be this reckless.”
Samaniego killed Woodside resident Alberto Zamacona, 47, in the crosswalk during a series of crashes. He is expected to be sentenced to a term of 5 to 15 years in prison when he returns to court on Oct. 4, according to the Queens DA.
Samaniego initially had a collision at Broadway and 55th Street. While fleeing that incident, he hit Zamacona when he blew through a red light at Broadway and 60th Street.
Zamacona, according to police at the time, was crossing with the pedestrian signal when he was hit. He mounted the hood of the car before falling to the pavement. EMS rushed him to NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst, where he died two days later
Samaniego continued eastbound on Broadway. He crossed into the lanes in the opposite direction, ran another red light at 61st Street and struck a 2013 Toyota Prius, which was stopped at the light.
The Prius was pushed backwards into a 2015 Toyota Sienna which in turn struck a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, police said.
The drivers of the Toyota Prius and the Toyota Sienna were taken to NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst in stable condition, where they were treated and released.
When police responded to the scene, they found Samaniego with bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelling of alcohol. He was taken to a nearby precinct where a test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .187, above the legal limit of .08.