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Drunken driver in fatal: 'I am not a beast'

Everardo Nieto was sentenced at the Nassau County

Everardo Nieto was sentenced at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola. (April 16, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A landscaper who admitted to drag racing drunk down Jericho Turnpike in Syosset and crashing head-on into a couple, killing a Jericho man, sobbed as he told a Nassau judge Monday he understands why he will be sent to prison, pleading "I am not a beast."

"I will not feel bad, whatever you decide," Everardo Nieto, 33, of the Bronx told Judge Philip Grella just before the judge sentenced him to 4 to 12 years in prison. "I know I failed these people. But I want you to know I am not a bad man. I am not a beast."

Nieto was driving a landscaping dump truck west on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset on Nov. 28, 2010, when he crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a 2010 Mercedes-Benz between Robbins Lane and Underhill Boulevard, Nassau police said.

Myron Jacobs, 86, a passenger, was killed. His wife, Lucille Jacobs, 84, who was driving, was critically injured.

Nieto pleaded guilty in November 2011 to second-degree manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

A passenger in Nieto's car was injured but survived. A nearly empty bottle of vodka was found in the truck and Nieto had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent -- the legal limit -- two hours after the crash, prosecutors said.

The couple's daughter, Aimee Schwartz, told Grella in court that Nieto's fateful decision to drink and drive destroyed her parents' lives forever, and left her reeling.

"What did my father think when he saw a truck coming at him?" she asked in court. "How deep was his pain?"

She said her mother, who had played golf, painted and had a bustling social life, is no longer able to be active.

"All that was taken away because of a stranger's reckless choice," she said.

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