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Drunk Driver Who Killed Pedestrian in Woodside Crosswalk Sentenced to Up to 15 Years in Prison

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Oct. 6, 2021 By Christian Murray

A hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a pedestrian in Woodside while driving drunk in 2019 was sentenced Monday to up to 15 years in prison, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Jorge Samaniego, 52, 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.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated vehicular homicide in August.

“The sentence imposed yesterday [Monday] by the Court punishes the defendant for taking a life after getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk, “ said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “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 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.

Broadway and 60th Street in Woodside (Google Maps)

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.

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