Drunk, high driver faces 5-15 years for deadly NYC pileup

July 31, 2020 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he triggered a deadly seven-car pileup after downing Hennessy and smoking marijuana at a strip club.

Alex Elicier faces 5 to 15 years behind bars on aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges stemming from the August 2018 crash on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens. The 31-year-old Elicier is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 1.

A message seeking comment was left with Elicier’s lawyer.

According to prosecutors, Elicier was speeding and weaving through traffic around 5 a.m. when his car slammed into the back of an Acura, sending it airborne and into opposing traffic, where it was struck by another car.


Acura passenger Jairo Castano, 38, and his two dogs were were killed. Elicier and four other people were hurt, including the driver of the Acura, prosecutors said.

Elicier’s blood alcohol level, tested about 40 minutes after the crash, was 0.16 — twice the legal limit, prosecutors said. He also tested positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes people to get high, they said.

Strip club surveillance camera footage confirmed that Elicier was drinking Cognac and smoking pot before getting behind the wheel.