Astoria, NY.- In the early hours of Sunday morning, a drunk driver, Daryush Omar, killed two women, Bessy Velasquez and Demetriou Panayiota, when his car ran a red light and collided with their vehicle in Astoria, Queens. Omar had been charged with several traffic violations in recent years, including an earlier DWI arrest, and is facing charges related to an unrelated murder. His license was suspended 15 times previously.
“Like so many other New Yorkers, my prayers are with the families of the victims of this horrible crime. Among the many questions that must be answered in the coming days, the most important seems to be why someone with a history of violence and drunk driving was allowed to get behind the wheel of a car at all,” said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). “Our law enforcement authorities must be able to use all the tools at their disposal to prevent tragedies like this from happening. We must make it easier to use new technologies like alcohol-sensitive ankle bracelets to keep those with a history of driving drunk off the streets.”
Assemblyman Gianaris is among the state’s leading advocates against drunk driving and is the sponsor of legislation (A.8890) that would allow for increased use of alcohol-sensitive ankle bracelets. Assemblyman Gianaris’ proposed legislation would create a 24/7 sobriety program in up to 10 counties that would require those accused of DWI/DWAI offenses to submit twice a day to chemical testing or the wearing of a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) as a condition of pre-trial release. The wearing of SCRAM would also be a condition of probation for those convicted of a second offense.