NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A judge has denied a request to dismiss a second-degree murder charge against a man accused in the death of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver.
On Feb. 12, Dominick Whilby, 23, allegedly smashed a stolen truck into a city bus at 14th Street and Seventh Avenue, killing bus driver 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. Whilby can be seen holding a drink in the background of a picture taken a few hours before the accident, CBS 2 reported.
Whilby’s attorney had argued that his client was too drunk to know what he was doing. But Judge Gregory Carro ruled the grand jury made a rational decision when it indicted Whilby, finding that he was not intoxicated to the degree of total oblivion, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Whilby’s lawyer said murder charges are inappropriate.
“They’ll prove it when pigs fly,” said defense attorney Harvey Slovis. “This is a lovely kid, alright he made a mistake. He should be convicted of what he did, not this overcharging.”
The victim’s family said they won’t settle for less.
“I want to thank Judge Carro for the ruling and I want Whilby to get the maximum sentence for what he did,” the victim’s common-law wife of 30 years, Nancy Rodriguez, said. “Our lives have changed forever and that life has a price.”
“It feels like everyday we’re in court, we’re reliving this tragic death every single time we’re here,” Rodriguez added.
Whilby is due back in court in September.
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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