Bronx DWI suspect Carmen Huertas pleaded guilty today after admitting she took 6 little girls to a slumber party drunk, in a wild ride that ultimately killed an 11-year-old.
Carmen Huertas, 32, faced all 16 counts against her stemming from the tragic October 11, 2009, crash on the Henry Hudson Parkway in which she taunted her terrified young passengers, “If you think I’m going to crash, raise your hand!”
Huertas broke down in sobs when Justice Charles Solomon asked her if she’d caused the death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado.
“Yes,” Huertas said, as her voice cracked. She also admitted being drunk on cognac and speeding with the six girls — including her own daughter — in the car.
The girls had been placed in Huertas’ care for a slumber party — and she’d taken them to another party in Chelsea without informing their parents. Huertas was driving them back to her Bronx home around 12:30 a.m., when she lost control of her station wagon and flipped it over, tossing Leandra from the car and onto the side of the road.
In return for her pleading guilty to the charges of manslaughter, vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated, Solomon said he’ll give Huertas more than the minimum of one to three years in prison but less than the max of five to 15 when he sentences her Oct. 1.
Leandra’s father, Lenny Rosado, said he’s hoping she’ll serve at least 10 years, but praised the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its work on the case.
“I was happy to see Carmen Huertas has finally decided to be honest with herself — that she was guilty of all charges, that she was guilty that night for drinking, being reckless and committing the acts she did,” Rosado said after the hearing.
He said the last nine months have “been a tough time,” and he broke down in tears as he described Leandra as his “best friend” and “my partner in crime.”
“I have a hard time going home, not hearing my daughter’s voice, not seeing her play,” he said, dissolving into tears.
Also in court was Yiselle Rosario, 12, who has had to undergo 11 surgeries as a result of injuries suffered in the crash. She walks with crutches, and said she’s still in pain. She said she was “scared” to see Huertas again for the first time since the accident that killed her friend.
“I’m still pretty sad,” she said.
DA Cyrus Vance Jr. called Huertas’ crime “tragic and infuriating,” and praised Lenny Rosado for getting “Leandra’s Law” passed.
The law makes it a felony to drink and drive in New York if there’s a child under 16 in the car. The second part of the legislation, which requires convicted drunk drivers to blow into a Breathalyzer-type device to start their cars, goes into effect on Sunday.
WTF? She ridin’ around drunk off ‘yac with a car full of kids?! She definitely deserves more than the minimum for this. SMDH.