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Prosecutors: Wrong-Way Driver Was Drunk When He Hit Van Full Of Teens

Handcuff (credit: clipart.com)

Handcuffs (credit: clipart.com)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A tow truck driver from Baltimore has been hit with serious charges, after he allegedly drove drunk and caused a wrong-way crash into a van full of teenagers on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens.

Jose Chimbo, 34, was driving his 2004 Nissan Murano the wrong way down the Van Wyck near Northern Boulevard shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the Queens District attorney’s office.

He slammed head-on into a van full of teenagers who were returning home from a party, prosecutors said.

The driver of the van and the teenagers were hospitalized and treated for minor injuries, prosecutors said. Chimbo himself suffered the most severe injuries, remaining hospitalized as of Monday afternoon with a broken left leg, severe deep wounds to his side, and injuries to his arm, shoulder and back, prosecutors said.

When police came to the scene, Chimbo allegedly admitted that he’d had a few drinks. He was given a blood test at the unidentified Queens hospital where he was taken, for which the results were pending Monday.

Chimbo is charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol, and unlawfully driving the wrong way on the roadway.

“The defendant is accused of getting behind the wheel of his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving the wrong way on one of the city’s major highways, endangering not only his own life but that of other motorists – including a van filled with young people which he hit. It is a miracle that no one was more seriously injured or killed,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a news release.

If convicted, Chimbo could go to prison for seven years.

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