Jessenia Fajardo, who drove into doorman Alfred Pocari on West End Avenue and 98th Street in July 2019, killing him and seriously injuring another bystander, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, according to District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
Pocari, 62, was a beloveddoorman at 785 West End Avenue, and a grandfather of triplets. He had immigrated from Albania.
Fajardo had told West Side Rag in an interview after the crash that she did not see the pedestrians crossing West End at 98th when she drove through the intersection. Video showed she had a red light at the time. Fajardo had said “I truly don’t recall seeing the red light at all.”
Fajardo had a history of other charges, including alleged driving-related offenses. Along with her manslaughter plea, the D.A.’s office said she was charged with injuring “a third victim in a separate, unrelated vehicular incident.” Vance said in a statement that the case showed how difficult it can be to keep drivers with poor driving histories off the road.
“Our laws are fundamentally broken when it takes the death of a fellow New Yorker to get a driver with a history of reckless conduct off the road, as is demonstrated in this case. Pedestrians and cyclists in our City and State remain under constant threat of vehicular violence, which is why my Office empaneled a New York State grand jury and drafted the Vehicular Violence Accountability Act based on their recommendations, and why we strongly supported the Reckless Driver Accountability Act and speed safety camera program.”
Fajardo is scheduled to be sentenced in March.