NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a dramatic faceoff in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday, as District Attorney Cyrus Vance threw the book at an alleged drunken driver who killed a bus operator.
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, Dominic Whilby, 22, most recently of Griffin, Ga., was ordered held without bail by Judge Gregory Carro, on newly-upgraded charges of second-degree murder.
“I think he’s a risk,” Carro said. “I think remand is appropriate.”
Carro’s ruling elicited a roar of approval from transport workers who packed the courtroom.
“He snatched William from our lives, and that has drastically changed our lives, forever,” said Nancy Rodriguez, the companion of us driver and veteran Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee William Pena.
Prosecutors said Whilby’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
He had allegedly spent part of the night partying with his famous uncle, male model Tyson Beckford, at the nightclub 1 Oak.
At the hearing, defense attorney Harvey Slovis made a strong plea for bail and was disappointed by the judge’s reaction.
“I have respect for the judge, but it’s a lot of pressure when you have 150 people clapping,” Slovis said. “It’s inappropriate. This is a wonderful kid, and he made a mistake.”
Whilby’s family members looked somber as the judge ruled.
But Pena’s union brothers and sisters said they have no sympathy for what the family members are going through.
“I feel sympathy for my brother William Pena that I won’t dance at his daughter’s wedding,” said Latonya Crisp-Sauray of the Transit Workers’ Union Local 100.
“I’m very disappointed and I want my dad back, but that’s not possible,” said the victim’s daughter, Gabrielle Pena.
Whilby had just moved to the area from Georgia on the day before the accident. His night out celebrating ended with the tragedy.
The defense attorney said Whilby blacked out and does not remember stealing the truck or hitting the bus.
Pena’s relatives have also filed a civil lawsuit against the nightclub 1 Oak, saying the club may have violated New York’s Dram Shop Act that prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
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