Off-duty Brooklyn firefighter charged in fatal hit-and-run crash

12/22/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

New York, NY– An off-duty Brooklyn firefighter has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it and criminally negligent homicide, following a hit-and-run crash that killed an Guatemalan immigrant in October, as reported by the New York Times.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, Pat Quagliariello, 39, has been accused of speeding in his SUV and sending a text message from his cell phone while behind the wheel, before hitting and killing Manuel Tzaj Guachiac, 25, a Guatemalan immigrant.

The fatal hit-and-run occurred around 12:30 a.m., on Oct. 10, at 65th Street and 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Quagliariello allegedly hit Tzaj with his late-model BMW X3, and then fled the scene before abandoning his SUV a block from his home in Midwood. Quagliariello then called firefighters and relatives, which included his brother Anthony Quagliariello, who is a detective for the Police Department’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Anthony picked up his brother at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue N and took him to the firehouse, where Pat ran off. Four hours after the crash, “at his brother’s insistence,” Pat reported to the 62nd Precinct station house.

Quagliariello admitted to officials that he owned the SUV, but did not answer further questions about the crash and left the police station without being administered a Breathalyzer test.

DNA testing on Quagliariello’s vehicle indicated a presence of Tzaj’s DNA.

Quagliariello’s lawyer’s contend that a video showed Tzaj acting drunk and running into the side of Quagliariello’s BMW.

Quagliariello is facing charges of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it and criminally negligent homicide; as well as charged of reckless driving and several traffic violations. He was released on a $50,000 bond.

The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley- Legal news for New York automobile accident lawyers.

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