New Windsor Man Convicted After Jury Trial of Criminally Negligent Homicide
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Gregory Cardona, 28, of New Windsor, was convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide after a jury trial before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill, in connection with the August 2016 death of a woman who died when Cardona lost control of his car, causing it to leave the roadway, go down an embankment, and collide with a tree.
At the trial, prosecutors proved that sometime between the late-night hours of August 29, 2016, and the early-morning hours of August 30, 2016, Cardona was driving a 2005 Honda on the ramp of Exit 4W off I-84 in the Town of Wallkill when he lost control of the car, causing it to go down the embankment and hit a tree, resulting in the death of the young woman who was his passenger. Cardona’s wrecked vehicle was discovered by a volunteer fireman who was driving to work on the morning of August 30. The fireman found that the young woman had died, and that Cardona, who was trapped in the driver’s seat, had suffered severe injuries. Members of the New York State Police and other emergency personnel, including the Town of Wallkill Volunteer Fire Department, responded to the scene and extricated Cardona and removed the victim from the vehicle. Prosecutors argued that an analysis of Cardona’s blood showed that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, and that testimony from State Police accident reconstructionists showed that Cardona had also been speeding when he lost control of the car.
Cardona is currently serving two consecutive state prison sentences of two to six years each, after being found to have violated probation on two unrelated cases involving grand larceny and forgery charges. The evidence in the homicide case that Cardona had used marijuana was the basis for those violations of probation.
Cardona faces up to an additional two to four years in prison for the Criminally Negligent Homicide when he is sentenced by Judge Freehill on June 5, 2018. That sentence can be ordered to run consecutively to Cardona’s sentences on the probation cases, for a possible total sentence of six to sixteen years in prison.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their investigation of the case and their assistance during the prosecution.
“No family should have to live with the agony of losing a loved one because someone drove irresponsibly,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “I am grateful for all of the resources the New York State Police provided, both in the investigation and the prosecution of this difficult case. The diligent efforts and expertise of the members of the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit was integral to our being able to hold this defendant accountable for the death of this young woman. While no disposition in a court case can possibly compensate for the loss of a loved one, my office will do all in its power to hold responsible for their actions those who kill or injure others while driving in a careless manner. We intend to recommend that this defendant be sentenced to the maximum state prison sentence authorized under the law.”
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Senior Assistant District Attorney Lorri Goldberg and Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Healy, who prosecuted the case.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.