Prosecutors have started the ball rolling on charging Aleandro Drosi, 28, with criminal charges after he allegedly ran a red light and t-boned a woman in an SUV last Sunday, according to Metro Philadelphia. The woman's SUV then flew onto the crowded sidewalk and through the side of the Captain Jessie G Seafood Market and Restaurant. The owner and the customers of the restaurant dove out of the way, but Samantha Nguyen-Ortanez, 11, was pinned against a wall. She died at the scene.
It is alleged that Drosi was under the influence when he ran the red light shortly after noon.
Drosi, a Florida resident, is scheduled to be arraigned on April 11th. Prosecutors initially charged him with driving under the influence. The charges of vehicular homicide while DUI and reckless endangerment have since been added.
Drosi can be charged with both vehicular homicide and reckless endangerment, as the two crimes require proof of different elements. For example, the homicide charge requires conviction of driving under the influence. The reckless endangerment charge does not. However, reckless endangerment does require that the prosecutor show that Drosi knew he was doing something extremely dangerous and proceeded anyway. Vehicular homicide does not require proof of any state of mind. Because both of these have individual parts that don't fit in the other charge, they are considered to be distinct enough to be charged separately.
The penalty for reckless endangerment carries jail time of up to two years. Vehicular homicide while driving under the influence can carry a penalty of anywhere from 3 to 10 years.
There is also a possibility that Drosi could be charged with involuntary manslaughter instead of vehicular homicide. Involuntary manslaughter is easier to prove, as it doesn't require showing that Drosi was drunk while driving. However, the penalty is less severe, maxing out at five years. Drosi could not be charged with both involuntary manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, as the two offenses' elements do overlap too much to be distinct.
No matter which charges are eventually filed, it seems Aleandro Drosi faces a significant amount of jail time if convicted of any offense involving the death of Samantha Nguyen-Ortanez.
- Find a Philadelphia DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Stages of a DUI Case (FindLaw)
- From DUI Homicide to Reckless Endangerment: The Senavitis Story (FindLaw's Philadelphia DUI Blog)
- Cops ID young pedestrian killed in crash near Italian Market (philly.com)