A motorist who fatally hit a Vietnam veteran in an Elmont crosswalk in 2013 is heading to prison for 5 to 15 years after his manslaughter conviction this summer, according to court officials.
In August, jurors found Brian Dudley, 44, responsible for the death of Walter McDougal, but rejected the allegation that Dudley was drunk at the time of the impact with the pedestrian. They also acquitted the Queens man of a vehicular manslaughter charge and of one of two drunken driving offenses.
Dudley’s Toyota Highlander hit McDougal, 61, on the afternoon of Dec. 28, 2013, at Elmont Road and Cerenzia Boulevard as McDougal was walking to his nearby Elmont home with groceries.
The jury’s foreman told Newsday after the verdict that the panel convicted on one of the DWI charges because of a blood test result from about four hours later that showed Dudley’s BAC was double the legal threshold for intoxication. They acquitted on the other DWI charge and the vehicular manslaughter count because they “didn’t think he was drunk” during the crash, according to the foreman.
The panelist also said in an interview that the jury convicted Dudley of the top charge of manslaughter because they believed he drove recklessly and was speeding at the time of the crash. The defense had argued at trial Dudley either had an exceptionally high alcohol tolerance or there was a problem with the blood test result.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Monday in a statement that Dudley’s prosecution and his punishment “should remind drivers that they alone are responsible for their decision to drink and drive recklessly.”
Dudley’s defense attorney, Christopher Devane, said Judge Philip Grella meted out the maximum punishment for the manslaughter conviction. The Mineola lawyer said he had appealed for a lesser penalty, citing the jury’s belief that alcohol wasn’t the cause of the collision and that the victim had been crossing against the traffic light. Devane said Dudley plans to appeal the convictions.
McDougal was a widower who had worked at a chemical company after serving in Vietnam, where he briefly was a prisoner of war, according to his family, who said after the verdict they believed justice had been served. McDougal’s survivors include his 16-year-old daughter Shannon.