Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas recently announced that a homeless man pleaded guilty to running over a teenage skateboarder with his minivan in Oct. 2017 — seriously injuring the then 14-year-old victim — in West Hempstead.
Luis DeJesus, 43, pleaded guilty to assault in the first degree and aggravated driving while intoxicated before Supervising Judge Teresa Corrigan. DeJesus is expected to be sentenced to 15 years in prison on Oct. 22.
“Because of the callous and thoughtless actions of a drunk driver, a 15-year-old boy continues to suffer life-threatening injuries nearly a year after being run over and dragged by a minivan,” Singas said. “A vehicle can be a dangerous weapon when driven in such an irresponsible and reckless manner. Public safety demands that drivers who engage in this kind of behavior are held responsible.”
Singas said that on October 27, 2017, at approximately 5:45 p.m., seven teenage boys were walking and skateboarding together in the parking lot of the Cherry Valley Shopping Center in West Hempstead. As they were walking, a blue minivan being driven by DeJesus drove by them and then made a U-turn.
DeJesus revved the minivan’s engine and drove directly at the teenagers. Several of the boys jumped out of the way of the oncoming vehicle, but one teenager, who was riding his skateboard, was struck and dragged underneath the van.
A group of good Samaritans held DeJesus until Nassau County Police Department officers arrived and arrested him. A further investigation determined that he was drunk at the time of the crash.
Following the incident, the victim – now 15 – was taken to Winthrop Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for internal bleeding and was hospitalized for five weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. To this day, the victim attends physical therapy three times a week, continues to suffer a brain bleed, permanent vision damage to his left eye, and has a large pulmonary embolism. He has returned to school on a part-time basis.