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Driver: Van Failed Before Deadly NY Sidewalk Wreck

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Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

Gavel (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (AP) – A driver accused of drunkenly mowing down a pregnant woman on a bustling New York City sidewalk is telling jurors he lost control of a van because its engine failed — not because of the drinks he downed beforehand.

Keston Brown testified Thursday that he had three beers and a shot of cognac within about two hours before the March 2009 crash. Ysemny Ramos was killed and another woman hurt.

Prosecutors said Brown’s blood-alcohol level topped the legal limit, and he was distracted by a passenger’s wolf-whistling at passing women.

The 28-year-old Brown says he was focused on handling the 20-year-old van after its engine abruptly shut off. He says he ultimately couldn’t stop it from jumping a curb near the Empire State Building.

Charges include aggravated vehicular homicide.

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