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Drunk driver who killed cyclist to be sentenced to 5 years

Photo: NBC News

By Christian Murray

The Long Island City man who struck and killed a bicyclist on a Sunnyside street last July will be sentenced to five years in prison.

Alex J. Batista, 25, of 53-36 Van Dam Street, was driving drunk along Greenpoint Avenue on July 18 when he drove into Roger Hernandez, a Sunnyside handyman who was riding his bicycle.

Hernandez was thrown onto the roadway near 39th Place after striking Batista’s windshield. Hernandez was pronounced dead on the scene with massive head injuries.

Batista, who fled the scene, was later found by cops after crashing his 4-door sedan into a building about 10 blocks away, at 58-16 Laurel Hill Boulevard. He had passed out, lying down on the sidewalk next to his car.

Batista had faced up to 15 years in prison for second degree manslaughter charges. Instead, he pleaded to second-degree assault and DWI and will be sentenced to 5 years on March 13.

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32 Responses »

  1. 5 years,thats a joke,scumbag deserves the max.liberal judges again,maybe the next person this punk kills will be a relative of theirs.

  2. 5 years , HA, people get more for having some weed on them. if it was someone I loved getting ran over I’d get drunk and run him over SOON as he gets outta prison.

    i’d do 5 years no problem.

  3. 5 years for driving drunk? and killing a man? WOW this guy needs to stay in prison for alot longer than that

    R.I.P Roger Hernandez

  4. Agree with the sentiments above, that 5 years does not seem like enough. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

  5. The above poster is right. People get harsher sentences for smoking ganja.

  6. 5 years is a pretty light sentence. No justice for the victim’s family, IMO.

  7. What a disgrace.

  8. Five years second-degree assault and DWI ???? What utter nonsense – he killed someone while driving drunk — he deserves way more than five years. Our criminal justice system concerning DWI cases like this is an insult to our society. Shame, shame, shame…

  9. Here is what i think Look at that bike VERY closely…do you see any reflectors? our parents made us put at least 5 between the spokes on both tires….do you see any headlights….or any reflective tape? on the handlebars or back fender?

    The judge had to give him some time since he was drunk, but the bicyclist was partially at fault for not making sure drivers really saw him.

  10. Point of information. It was a plea bargain so that means the prosecutor agreed. The judge uses sentencing guidelines based on plea bargain for a lesser offense. This is not an issue of liberal judges or liberal laws it is about plea bargaining. Also I’m not a forensic photographic inspector so I can’t tell from the photo if the bike had appropriate reflectors or lights or not I can only see it appears to be a white bike which is a good thing. My guess is that if the driver was drunk enough to pass out beside his car shortly after hitting and killing the cyclist even a Vegas style blinking marquis would not have helped.

  11. P.S. if you’re upset about the sentence then do something about it. Contacts your elected reps and the prosecutors office and make it known you want them to stop making pleas for things like this.

  12. Can you really tell from the photo that the bike didn’t have any reflectors? If anything, the bike IS clearly visible.

    I have reflectors and flashing lights on my bike, but it sounds like this driver was blind drunk. He hit a building!

  13. Rikki, you assume that even if the bicyclist had reflectors etc., the drunk driver would have seen him. The driver clearly violated the law while there is no evidence the bicyclist violated any law. The 5 year sentence is too light especially considering it will likely be reduced while the guy is in prison.

  14. Henry’s got a point here. The prosecutor would not have offered a 5 year sentence if his case was strong enough to go to trial. In all likelihood, the case was not strong at all, so the prosecutor took the 5 years rather than risk an acquittal and end up with nothing.

    But, Henry, lobbying your elected representative will not change our criminal justice system. Nearly 9 out of 10 criminal cases end in plea bargains. Only slam dunk cases are tried.

  15. Rikki also believes that women who get raped were asking for it with the way they were dressed.

  16. Now we gotta pay for this guy’s room and board for the next five years?

    Should be more than incarceration, there should be work program- street sweeping, cleaning trash from subway tracks, something productive.

  17. Exactly…..BOTH should not have been on the road….BOTH were at fault in the accident, had the driver not been drunk…he wouldn’t have served time.

    Its called comparative negligence….

    So dont Ride your bike unless drivers can Really Really see you…..I want to see reflective tape on the back your jacket the back fender

    But I know its not MANLY to look like a geek a mommys boy…..Real men dont ride with reflectors….oh well sometimes you will get killed.

    you assume that even if the bicyclist had reflectors etc

  18. rikki,are you related to the driver?

  19. No Micky just a paralegal…….and sometimes the truth hurts …(or in this case death)

  20. rikki,a paralegal,more like a judge and jury.

  21. Rikki, your comments are entirely speculative, since the photo of the bike is quite small and it would be difficult to see reflectors, if they were on the bike.

    It’s quite unjustified to say both were at fault: there is considerable evidence that the driver was drunk (in addition to striking the bicyclist, he hit a building and was passed out drunk on the sidewalk, as others have noted). Clearly drunk driver vs. small photo of bike with little detail: no reason to conclude both were at fault.

  22. The Judge thought so…or he would have never agreed to such a light sentence….

    —————–no reason to conclude both were at fault.

  23. Rikki it was a plea bargain and for all we know the sentence was the max by sentencing guidelines for the lesser offense of the plea. We don’t know all the facts but they are public record. As a paralegal I would think you would know how to get the public record easily before all this opinion.

    Also I think you mean contributive negligence not comparative negligence. Which can only be applied if its true. You’re making up stuff you have no evidence other than a bad photo as to weather your assumptions are valid. Guesses don’t hold up in court facts and evidence do. Stop making up stuff please! You’re doing your profession a disservice. Are you really a paralegal?

  24. Comparative and contributory negligence are concepts that apply in civil matters and have no application in criminal matters. Yes the actions of the victim can be a factor in the crime or degree of crime charged. However, once charged, the defendant is either guilty or innocent; there is no such thing as a criminal defendant being 75% or 50% guilty. Rather, a defendant can be found guilty of a lesser included crime if the evidence does not support a finding of guilt on the higher charged crime, for example manslaughter where the acts of the defendant directly caused the death of another person, versus assault where the acts of the defendant caused physical injury to another person. Too often a DA will use the device of accepting a plea to a lesser included offense and a judge will allow such a plea as a way of clearing cases from the court calendar without regard to the merits of the case. I think that is what happened in the case of this driver probably because there was no one in a position of power to advocate on behalf of the family of the dead bicyclist.

  25. I live in the area that is a very dark corner plus I an a driver and I also bike.

    So i see it from all sides, and yes bike riders today are stupid. And should be held accountable for that stupidity.

    Just think a minute Black hoodie, black bike, no reflectors dark street corner, night time, and you expect a sober driver to see you?

  26. No argument with your these points Rikki and bicyclist should be required to wear refective clothing as well as have reflective gear on the bike.

  27. Does “no reflectors, dark hoodie” appear in any official document, or is this speculation? Most of us agree that the photo is insufficient evidence.

    It seems really aggressive to insist on these points as absolutely relevant yet you offer nothing more but your feelings as corroboration. As a paralegal, you probably know all of this, but you refuse to concede that there is no real evidence to back up your version of what happened.

    Is this how things work at law firms today, Rikki?

  28. If you live around here its pretty common so i’m surprised a lot more people haven’t been hurt or killed.

    Does “no reflectors, dark hoodie”

  29. Wow. ..its one thing to hit and kill someone while drunk driving but this scumbag actually drove off after the fact! He deserves to rot in hell….I didn’t know the victim or his family but I can only imagine the sorrow they feel….

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