Long Island Nurse Charged In Death Of Anti-Gang Activist Evelyn Rodriguez

November 30, 2018 - 1:54 pm

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — After two and a half months of investigative work, a Long Island nurse has been charged in the death of Evelyn Rodriguez, who gained notoriety as an anti-gang activist after her teenage daughter was allegedly murdered by MS-13 members.

Rodrigues was fatally struck on Sept. 14, during an argument over the placement of a memorial in honor of her daughter Kayla Cuevas.

Prosecutors said Friday the argument began when AnnMarie Drago, a registered nurse, was discovered destroying the large memorial of flowers, photo and balloons left in front of a Ray Court home in Brentwood.

Drago reportedly threw many of the memorial items in the trash and was transporting larger items away from the site in her SUV. As she attempted to drive away, Rodriguez approached the vehicle to confront her, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini.

Sini says Rodriguez was run over while she attempted to demand Drago return the items.

“The front wheel and the rear tire both ran Evelyn over,” Sini explained at a Central Islip courthouse.

Drago was hit with a three-count indictment, including criminally negligent homicide, to which she plead not guilty.

“All I can do is just pray and hope my mother, you know, that she gets justice,” Rodriguez daughter Kelsey Cuevas said at the trial.

During the indictment, Drago offered her apologies to Rodriguez’s family.

Because she has no criminal history and has cooperated with the investigation, Drago was released following her plea. As she left the courthouse, she wore sunglasses and attempted to hide her face from reporters.

“It will be shown that my client's actions that day were neither intentional nor reckless,” Drago’s attorney Stephen Kunken said.

DA Sini said Drago has destroyed the memorial as she was trying to sell her mother’s home nearby and didn’t want the vigil to affect the sale.