Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Firefighter Pat Quagliariello charged in hit-and-run death of Brooklyn immigrant
An NYPD detective took his brother to a firehouse instead of a police station after the smoke eater mowed down a pedestrian in Brooklyn and left him for dead, authorities say.
Pat Quagliariello vanished from the firehouse and waited at least four hours before turning himself in at the 62nd Precinct stationhouse.
Prosecutors charged him Tuesday with criminally negligent homicide, speeding, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and using a mobile phone while driving. Guatemalan immigrant Manuel Tzajguachiac, 25, was killed.
"He was texting and speeding when he struck the pedestrian," Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein said at the firefighter's arraignment.
Detective Anthony Quagliariello wasn't disciplined for picking up his brother after the 12:30 a.m. wreck on Oct. 10 at 20th Ave. and 65th St.
"The detective was forthcoming in reporting what happened, and there's nothing at this point to indicate that he interfered with the investigation or prosecution of his brother," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.
It wasn't clear if Pat Quagliariello was drinking before the Bensonhurst crash. After his initial arrest, he admitted just that he owned the BMW SUV. Then he got a lawyer and clammed up, police sources said.
Prosecutors said Tzajguachiac, who worked two jobs, crossed against the light.
Quagliariello, who joined the FDNY in 2004, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $50,000 bail. He was suspended for 30 days after the wreck and has since been assigned to desk duty.
The firefighter's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, told the court that Tzajguachiac had a blood-alcohol content of .24 - three times the legal limit. Prosecutors didn't challenge the statement.
Esswein said Tzajguachiac's DNA was found on Quagliariello's vehicle and vowed to win the case.
"There will be a jail sentence - an upstate jail sentence," Esswein said.