In a heart-wrenching incident in Middletown, NY, an elderly couple out for a walk faced the dire consequences of a drunk driver’s reckless actions. Rudolph E. Pacheco, a 70-year-old Staten Island resident, stands accused of running over the two, leaving one dead and the other injured, before allegedly fleeing the scene.
An evening walk turned fatal
On the evening of August 2, as the couple strolled along New Kingston Road, Pacheco’s vehicle veered off the road due to his significantly high blood alcohol content, which was reported to be above .18. “Due to his high level of intoxication, the defendant drove on the side of the road and struck two elderly pedestrians: a husband and wife who were out walking,” detailed Delaware County Acting District Attorney Shawn J. Smith. Tragically, one of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was rushed to the emergency room in stable condition.
After the accident, witnesses recall that Pacheco initially halted but then made a swift escape. Only 12 miles later, authorities managed to intercept and apprehend him.
The Delaware County Grand Jury took swift action, indicting Pacheco on nine counts. These include vehicular manslaughter, assault, aggravated drunk and reckless driving, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident that resulted in death. Addressing the courts on September 15, Pacheco pleaded “not guilty.” His next court appearance has been set for October 10. It’s imperative to note that all charges at this stage are merely accusations, and Pacheco remains presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A reminder from the authorities
This incident serves as a sad reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence. New York authorities emphasize their zero-tolerance stance against drivers who speed or operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The tragedy in Middletown adds to the alarming statistics for 2023: a 53% surge in bicyclist deaths and a tragic toll of 112 lives lost in New York City traffic crashes, with Queens witnessing the highest number.
Stay safe and think twice before getting behind the wheel impaired.