Luis DeJesus and Nicholas Suarez

Police/WCBS 880

Drunk Driver Who Rammed Into Skateboarding Teen Gets 15 Years In Prison

October 22, 2018 - 1:13 pm

WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- A homeless man was sentenced to more than a decade in prison Monday for running over a teenager while driving drunk on Long Island a year ago.

Prosecutors say 43-year-old Luis DeJesus purposely drove his minivan towards a group of teens who were skateboarding at a shopping center in West Hempstead last October. Nicholas Suarez, 15, was struck and dragged by the vehicle.

Suarez suffered severe injuries, including a fractured skull and collapsed lungs. He couldn’t walk, eat or breathe normally for months and has permanent eye damage. Doctors say he’s lucky to be alive.

In a dramatic moment in court Monday, Suarez lifted his sweatshirt and showed DeJesus a large scar across his chest and stomach.  

“Finally, I looked this guy in the eye. I said, 'I want you to see my face. You don’t do that to a kid. You don’t do that to teenagers. You don’t go get drunk and then run over kids. That’s not cool.'”

DeJesus didn’t say a word in court as he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to court documents, his blood-alcohol level was 0.20 percent – more than twice the legal limit – when he careened into the teens.

“This defendant acted with a depraved indifference to human life when he maliciously drove his van into a group of teenagers,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Our young victim suffered catastrophic injuries the night he was hit by that van, but through the exemplary work of doctors, nurses, his family, and his own strength he survived.”

Suarez's mother was emotional at the sentencing Monday. 

“Nobody should ever go behind the wheel of a car drunk to that extent and just want to hurt kids,” she told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall. “It’s horrible.”