DA: Drunken driver admits he hit, dragged girl
A Long Beach man has pleaded guilty to charges that he drove drunk, hit a 15-year-old girl crossing the street, and dragged her for 600 feet, prosecutors said Friday.
German Gutierrez, 50, pleaded guilty Thursday to the top charge against him, first-degree depraved indifference assault, Nassau County prosecutors said. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident with physical injury, they said.
A Nassau judge agreed to sentence him to 8 years in prison for his crime at his next court date July 15.
Gutierrez's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Gutierrez was driving his 2002 Jeep Liberty east on East Beech Street in Long Beach without his headlights on at about 9 p.m. Sept. 3, 2012, when he drove through a stop sign at Edwards Boulevard and struck a 15-year-old girl walking her bicycle southbound across the street, prosecutors said.
Rather than stopping to help, Gutierrez kept driving, pinning the girl beneath her bike and dragging her under his vehicle for more than 600 feet, prosecutors said.
After the girl fell away from the vehicle, 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 Jeep, prosecutors said.
The girl suffered such serious road rash injuries to the left side of her body that her knee and elbow joints were exposed. Extensive skin grafts have resulted in permanent scarring, and she suffered an injury to the tendons in her left hand that may require surgery.
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 accident, prosecutors said.
"The physical and emotional scars this brave young woman has suffered will be a constant reminder of the horrors she suffered at the hand of this defendant, but today's guilty plea ensures that Mr. Gutierrez pays a serious price for his crime," said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice in a statement.