FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Brooklyn Man Indicted for Manslaughter for Causing
Motorcyclist’s Death While Driving Under the Influence and Speeding
Defendant and His Girlfriend Additionally Charged with Conspiracy and Obstruction
For Allegedly Telling Police That She was Driving at the Time of the Collision
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, conspiracy and other related charges for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol, then slamming into a motorcyclist at an intersection in Kensington, Brooklyn, killing him. The defendant and his girlfriend initially told the police that she was driving.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A thorough and comprehensive investigation by my Office showed that these defendants allegedly lied to police in order to help the driver of this vehicle to escape justice for slamming into a law-abiding motorcyclist and killing him. The victim was a father whose family is now devastated. I am determined to keep Brooklyn’s roads safe for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike and will continue to bring anyone who unlawfully endangers those who use our streets to justice.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Christopher Diaz, 24, of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Miller on a 17-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, criminally negligent homicide, fifth- and sixth-degree conspiracy and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. Bail was set at $400,000 bond or $200,000 cash and the defendant was ordered to return to court on September 23, 2019. He faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The defendant’s girlfriend, Jasmin Morales-Cruz, 23, of Homecrest, Brooklyn, was indicted on charges of fifth- and sixth-degree conspiracy, second-degree obstruction of governmental administration, and second- and third-degree hindering prosecution and will be arraigned on a later date. A criminal complaint in which Morales-Cruz was charged with vehicular manslaughter and related charges immediately after the incident – after she told police she was driving the vehicle when it struck the victim – will be dismissed.
The District Attorney said that on May 27, 2019, at about 3:55 a.m., Diaz, was driving a 2014 black Infinity Q50 sedan registered to Morales-Cruz, northbound on Ocean Parkway, near Beverley Road in Kensington, Brooklyn. The investigation found that as Evvon Alexander, 28, was traveling southbound on a motorcycle and was attempting to turn onto Beverley Road from the turning lane, he was struck by the defendant, who was traveling at more than 80 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone and was under the influence of alcohol. The motorcycle was struck with such force that it split in half. The victim was thrown into the air, over the median between the main parkway and the service road and landed between parked cars on the service road. He was declared dead at Maimonides Hospital.
When police arrived, the defendant and Morales-Cruz both claimed that she had been driving because she had only one drink and that the defendant had multiple drinks. Their two passengers also said Morales-Cruz was driving, but days later admitted that Diaz was driving and had asked them to lie. Morales-Cruz’s blood alcohol level was .11 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent. Because of the alleged conspiracy claiming that Morales-Cruz was the driver, Diaz’s blood alcohol level was not tested, though he later admitted, during the course of the investigation, that he had consumed six to eight beers.
A lengthy investigation led to the recovery of videotape surveillance of the defendants and their passengers drinking at three different bars before the collision and allegedly showing Diaz getting into the driver’s seat shortly before the collision. Text messages asking the passengers to lie to authorities about who was driving were also recovered; other evidence allegedly shows that the defendant accelerated from 65 mph to 83 mph seconds before the crash and applied the brake just a half-second before impact.
Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nocella, Deputy Chief, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Douglas Marquez, assisted in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Luis Segura and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Velez, of the District Attorney’s Grey Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eaddy, Bureau Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.