A homeless man who was high on crack when he crashed a stolen car, killing another driver, has been sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday.
Robert Hengeveld, 51, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in June to aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Starlin Diaz Felipe, 19.
“A young man’s life was cut short because of this defendant’s reckless criminal conduct,” said Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney, adding, “This sentence will help to protect the public and hopefully give the victim’s family a small measure of closure.”
Hengeveld was sentenced before state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro and was represented by Oscar Christafio of the Legal Aid Society.
According to court documents and the defendant’s statements, on Oct. 19, 2021, at about 11:42 p.m., Hengeveld was fleeing from police in a stolen 2004 Toyota Tacoma when he ran through a red light at the intersection of County Road 83 and the Long Island Expressway South Service Road in Holtsville and crashed into a 1999 Honda Civic driven by Felipe.
Felipe was killed instantly and the passenger in Hengeveld's car was ejected and sustained a brain bleed and a broken jaw. The crash came at the end of an 11-minute pursuit by police after Hengeveld drove away from a traffic stop.
He ran through several red lights, crossed over double yellow lines and drove at high speeds, prosecutors said
The car Hengeveld drove, and its license plate, were both stolen, prosecutors said. Police also found he had smoked crack cocaine before the crash.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, criminal possession of stolen property and driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to the district attorney's office.