Valley Stream Man Gets 7 to 21 Years in Prison for DWI Crash That Killed Levittown College Student
Thanksgiving weekend crash killed 21-year-old Jason Shein
MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that Persi Esquivel, 47, of Valley Stream, has been sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison for the 2008 Thanksgiving weekend crash that killed 21-year-old Jason Shein of Levittown.
Esquivel pleaded guilty last month to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Aggravated DWI, Aggravated Vehicular Assault, felony Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, two counts of Assault in the Third Degree, and violating the conditions of a court-imposed ignition interlock system required as a condition of the defendant’s 2006 DWI conviction.
According to Rice, Shein was driving a 1998 Chrysler Sebring convertible west on Conklin Street in Farmingdale, when the Miami college student and volunteer EMT was hit head-on by an eastbound 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Esquivel. Prior to impact, Esquivel apparently tried to pass an eastbound car on the left side, crossing the double yellow line and propelling his automobile into oncoming traffic.
The crash killed Shein instantly. Shein’s three passengers all suffered injuries. Shein and his passengers were returning home from a dinner at a Farmingdale Applebee’s at the time of the crash.
Blood taken from Esquivel at the hospital following the crash was tested for alcohol and later revealed a blood-alcohol content of .24, three times the legal limit to drive.
“There are no words to describe the horror and loss suffered by Jason Shein’s family and friends,” Rice said. “I only hope that today’s sentence, and my commitment to ensuring that this defendant will serve the maximum allowable time, brings them some semblance of closure.”
In the days following the crash, Esquivel was charged with manslaughter and DWI. In March, the DA’s office indicted Esquivel on the elevated charge of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide. Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is the toughest DWI-specific law on the books in New York State. The law was drafted by Rice and State Senator Charles Fuschillo and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg.
Since former Governor Eliot Spitzer signed the law in July of 2007, Rice has successfully obtained two convictions under the statute.
In a separate incident in 2006, Esquivel was charged and convicted of DWI. As a result of the conviction, he was required by the court to install an ignition interlock device on any car under his control. Soon after the conviction, Esquivel transferred ownership of his automobile to another man to avoid the court-imposed sanction. The automobile involved in Esquivel’s 2006 conviction is the same automobile that was involved in the November 2008 crash that killed Shein.
Handling the case for the DA’s Office is Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the DA’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, Maureen McCormick and ADA Matthew Lampert. Esquivel is being represented by Dennis Lemke, Esq.