A Long Beach man was sentenced to eight years in prison after he drove drunk, hit a 15-year-old girl crossing the street, and dragged her for 600 feet last year, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Friday.
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German Gutierrez, 50, pleaded guilty in May to the top charges of first-degree assault with depraved Indifference, aggravated driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury. He was sentenced Friday by Judge Tammy Robbins.
“No amount of prison time will ever undo the physical and emotional damage that Mr. Gutierrez inflicted upon this innocent young girl, whose life is now changed forever,” Rice said in a statement. “Today’s sentence, however, ensures that he pays a serious price for his crimes as a drunk driver.”
Just before 9 p.m. on Sept. 3, 2012, Gutierrez was driving his 2002 Jeep Liberty eastbound on East Beech Street in Long Beach without his headlights on when he drove through a stop sign at Edwards Boulevard and struck a 15-year-old girl walking her bicycle southbound across the street, according to the district attorney’s office. Rather than stopping to help, Gutierrez kept driving, pinning the victim beneath her bike and dragging her under his vehicle for more than 600 feet.
After the victim fell away from the vehicle, Gutierrez continued driving, striking a parked vehicle and driving on the sidewalk before coming to a stop in the street and falling out of his vehicle. The victim suffered such serious road rash injuries to the left side of her body that her knee and elbow joints were exposed. Extensive skin grafts have resulted in permanent scarring.
Gutierrez told officers at the scene that he had consumed “like, a thousand drinks” and hadn’t technically killed anyone. He registered a blood-alcohol content reading of .30 percent, more than three times the legal limit, five hours after the incident.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Gutierrez is represented by attorney Kimberly Lerner.