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Locus Valley man pleads guilty in crash that killed retired NYPD detective

A Locust Valley man admitted Wednesday to killing a retired NYPD detective last year in a drunken-driving crash by barreling into an ambulette in Glen Cove that was bringing the 85-year-old to a hospital.

Alvaro Gutierrez-Garcia, 29, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated DWI and a felony assault charge during a virtual hearing in Nassau County Court.

Prosecutors said the crash on Sept. 1, 2019, marked the second drunken driving tragedy for the family of victim Denis Motherway, of Bayville.

The former law enforcement official died about a decade after his son, Timothy Motherway, 35, also perished because of a drunken driver in an East Rockaway crash.

State Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald said Wednesday he planned to sentence Gutierrez-Garcia in December to what will add up to a sentence of 6 to 12 years in prison — a year less time than the Nassau district attorney's office recommended.

McDonald explained that while the ambulette had its lights and siren on at the time of the crash, the vehicle also had been going through a red light.

"Obviously that is not affecting, to me, the guilt of the defendant. But it is affecting, to me, what I think the appropriate sentence is," the judge said, while also extending condolences to Motherway's family.

Gutierrez-Garcia admitted during his guilty plea that his blood alcohol content measured 0.22% after the crash — a level prosecutor Lisa Corso pointed out Wednesday was almost three times higher than the legal limit.

Authorities said Gutierrez-Garcia's 1997 Cadillac sedan hit the emergency vehicle about 11:45 p.m. as he sped east on Forest Avenue. The ambulette had been going south on Walnut Road and the force of the impact made it overturn, according to police.

Motherway was having trouble breathing before the crash, which caused him to go into cardiac arrest, police also said.

Authorities said Motherway was pronounced dead at Glen Cove Hospital, where the private ambulette had been heading before the crash.

An emergency medical technician also suffered a serious hand injury in the wreck, according to prosecutors.

"There was never really a question he would accept responsibility for his actions. The only delay was due to the pandemic," Gutierrez-Garcia's attorney, Jeffrey Groder, said after Wednesday's hearing.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas released a statement recognizing the Motherway family's "extraordinary losses due to the behavior of drunk drivers."

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