A drunken driver from Bay Shore who killed a father of four in a crash and then tried to fake his own injuries to avoid responsibility, was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Fernando Ramirez Jr., 34, who prosecutors said was intoxicated at more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% and was under the influence of marijuana, was sentenced for the Nov. 27, 2017 crash that killed Daniel Granados, 31, of Central Islip.
A jury found Ramirez guilty in April of three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and other charges.
Ramirez, who broke both his legs in the crash, also claimed to have suffered traumatic brain injury and showed up to various court proceedings appearing comatose in a wheelchair and drooling, in what prosecutors alleged was a rouse to be declared unfit for trial.
But investigators from the district attorney’s office got surveillance video of Ramirez loading his own wheelchair into his car before his arrival at court. A neurological report later indicated that Ramirez showed signs of "feigned cognitive impairment," the DA’s office said.
"This is a defendant who killed a father of four young children and injured two other victims, but instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he tried to convince the Court that he was unfit for trial," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. "His behavior throughout this case was an insult to the victims and their families who were truly suffering."
Ramirez was drinking at a Dave & Buster’s in Islandia before getting into a 2008 Subaru eastbound on the Long Island Expressway service road in Hauppauge, authorities have said. At 3:20 a.m., Ramirez ran a red light at the intersection of the service road and Route 111 and struck a red 1997 Ford F150. The vehicles then collided with a blue 2004 Infiniti G35 that was traveling northbound on Route 111.
Granados, a passenger in the Ford, was pronounced dead at the scene, The driver of the Ford suffered serious physical injuries, while the driver of the Infiniti was treated for minor injuries.
Ramirez’s attorney Christopher Brocato said his client’s pre-sentencing report unfairly represented Ramirez by quoting him saying he was upset by how the crash had hurt himself and his family, but didn’t mention his feelings about the victims.
"He was always extremely remorseful," said Brocato. "He never wanted to take this to trial, but when the offer [from prosecutors] is the maximum, it’s malpractice for me to take the maximum. He was always remorseful; he was always cognizant of the fact that he killed someone with four children. Many times he was in tears in my office over what happened."
Brocato, who did not represent Ramirez at the time he was accused of faking his injuries, declined to comment on that aspect of the case. Brocato said Ramirez appeared lucid during his trial.
"As far as I’m concerned, he communicated with me during the trial and I didn’t have any issue," Brocato said.
Ramirez will be up for parole after serving 12 ½ years, Brocato said.