Fatal hit-and-run driver draws probation
By Victor Whitman • Times Herald-Record
MONTICELLO — A Brooklyn man was sentenced to probation on Wednesday for a July 2008 hit-and-run accident in the Town of Fallsburg that killed 50-year-old Julio Torres. But before he expressed "deep remorse" for the crime, Michael Rebenwurzel, 27, tried to get out of doing community service.
Torres' partner of 14 years, Salvadora Negron, cried while a victim's advocate read her statement, and asked the judge to sentence him to prison. Her son and daughter have no father.
"Rebenwurzel never showed any remorse or compassion for our children or even offered condolences," she wrote. "Instead, he acted with arrogance, as if he had only killed an animal. When he looked at me, he looked as if I were nothing."
Rebenwurzel, who comes from a wealthy Brooklyn family, stood holding two prayer books.
"I am deeply sorry for what happened," Rebenwurzel said in a soft voice that was barely audible. "For my entire life, I will be filled with remorse."
He faced up to seven years for the felony of leaving the scene of an accident where a death occurred. Judge Robert Sackett informed Rebenwurzel's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, that he was tacking on 150 hours of community service, which wasn't part of the plea deal. Brafman then consulted with Rebenwurzel and his family in the courtroom hallway, and then asked to have the community service waived. The judge denied the request.
Rebenwurzel has maintained consistently he thought he hit a deer in the dark, foggy conditions. Torres was probably killed instantly.
Rebenwurzel was a trained EMT. He has worked for a volunteer ambulance corps. There was blood and body fragments on the windshield. He drove away without investigating.
"He didn't stop when he had a piece of flesh on his console," Assistant District Attorney Joe Drillings said.
[Hat Tip: CS.]