The 25-year-old woman who struck a New York landscaper while he was on a zero-turn mower in September 2016 has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving while ability was impaired by drugs.
Julio Anibal Aceituno-Perez, 52, was mowing a lawn when Brianna Hassett, 24 at the time, veered off the road and struck him with her 2005 Cadillac on Sept. 13.
Hassett failed a series of field sobriety tests administered the morning of the crash.
“I sniffed a line of coke last night, I snorted a half a bag of dope and shot up the other half,” Hassett reportedly told the police, according to Riverhead Local.
“(Defendant) further stated she took Xanax at 10 p.m. last night and in the morning took another half a line of coke and sniffed a bag of dope at 3 a.m.,” said a statement in investigators’ notes released by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
The landscaper, a father of three, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital and died two days later.
Now, as part of the plea deal, Hassett faces between 16 months and four years in state prison when she is sentenced on Jan. 23. She was also arraigned on Jan. 3 on an additional felony count of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and an additional misdemeanor count of driving while impaired by drugs, failing to report a motor vehicle accident, failure to maintain her lane of travel, and reckless driving.
Hassett is currently held in Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.
Woman scammed by so-called tree trimmer after tornado
After a tornado ripped through South Ogden, Utah, in late September last year, Mary England’s yard was ravaged.
Just a few hours after the storm, a man appeared at her door claiming he could clean up the mess.
“He said, ‘You know, I can do all of this work for you for $2,000.’ And I said, ‘That’s a lot of money.’ He said, ‘Yeah but that’s a lot of work,’” England told KUTV.com.
The man demanded cash and once England had paid, he began cutting the trees with a chainsaw but left long before the work was done.
“I think he took advantage of me,” England said. “He didn’t earn what he was paid.”
Using the business card he had given England, Matt Gephardt with KUTV found a Facebook profile for Feti Moliga that matched the name and phone number on the card.
When Gephardt called Moliga, he said he would work things out with England, but weeks passed and nothing ever happened. When they tried to call him again, they could only get a message that says, “At the subscriber’s request, this phone does not accept incoming calls.”
The director of Utah’s division of occupational and professional licensing, Mark Steinagel, advises others to avoid paying in cash and to ask for a few references.
“The people who are trustworthy will not be offended by you checking,” Steinagel said.
England’s yard was eventually set to rights by neighbors and friends, not Moliga.
Landscape worker sues for workers’ compensation
A Florida landscaping company employee lost his big toe after a lawn mower accident in September 2016.
William Francis worked for Village Lawn Care in Tampa, Florida, for 10 years. On the day of the accident, he alerted Village Lawn Care of his injury and his claim for the benefits for a work-related injury.
He provided the proper workers’ compensation paperwork as well as medical documentation to his employer on Oct. 4 and was then fired on Oct. 7.
Francis claims he was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim and filed a suit seeking compensation on Dec. 8.