A female motorist who blew through a red light and killed an Upper West Side doorman has been sentenced to two to six years in prison.
Jessenia Fajardo, 38, who had her driver’s license suspended twice, plowed through stop lights on West End Avenue in Manhattan in her Acura on July 19, 2019, and hit 64-year-old grandfather-to-triplets, Alfred Pocari.
Pocari was crossing West 98th Street and walking to his building to start his shift as a doorman.
Jessenia Fajardo, 38, is pictured at her sentencing in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday
Fajardo had nine moving violation tickets when she blew through a red light in July 2019
The red light that Fajardo drove through had been on for six seconds while she read a text
Fajardo was also charged with assault for running over a pedestrian’s foot in May 2019
Alfred Pocari was crossing the street and walking to work in his job as a doorman on West End Avenue when he was struck and later died from his injuries
The collision on wealthy West End Avenue occurred after Fajardo had been reading a text on her phone and then decided to travel through the stop light which had already been on red for six seconds.
Pocari died five days later in hospital as a result of his injuries.
Fajardo also seriously injured another woman at the time of the incident, shattering her pelvis.
The woman was then said to have tried to sweet-talk cops at the scene according to the New York Daily News and tried to insist that the traffic light was still green.
‘I saw the light ahead was green, so I thought the one I was going through was green,’ she said. She also claimed not to have seen Pocari and the woman in the crosswalk.
She also tried to curry pity from NYPD officers by telling them that her apartment in the Bronx had burned down and that her own child’s father had also been imprisoned – for vehicular manslaughter.
Pocari had moved to the U.S. from Albania and was a grandfather to three triplets, all girls
Fajardo was found to have nine moving violation tickets on her driving record.
Her lengthy criminal history includes two unlicensed driving convictions, authorities said.
At her sentencing on Friday, Fajardo wept openly while two victims read lengthy impact statements describing the loss they suffered as a result of the crash.
Fajardo then addressed the court and stated through tears that she was sorry for what had happened.
The Manhattan District Attorney had recommended a sentence of five to 15 years, the maximum under New York law, but the judge handed down a term of between two and six years.
‘The death of Alfred Pocari, a beloved grandfather of three, was not only tragic – it was a foreseeable and devastating consequence of the defendant’s habitually reckless driving,’ Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a news release.
The collision happened in July 2019 on West End Avenue and 98th Street
The SUV that Fajardo had been driving can be seen, left, as police conducted and investigation
‘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 demonstrated in this case.’
‘My dad came from Albania for a better life for his family,’ said Pocari’s son, Samiar Pocari. ‘My dad was a dreamer. He had big dreams for all of us. His personal dream came true when his three granddaughters arrived.
‘He was a hard-working man who worked hard for me and my sister. He was a virtuous man who stood up for his beliefs,’ said Samiar. ‘He was the rock of our family.’
Fajardo’s lawyer, Allen Farbman, said she was ‘devastated’ and fully accepted responsibility for her actions.
At the time of her being charged, Fajardo was also charged with assault for running over another pedestrian’s foot in a separate driving incident in May 2019 in Tribeca.
‘My dad came from Albania for a better life for his family,’ said Pocari’s son, Samiar Pocari, pictured right with Alfred. ‘My dad was a dreamer. He had big dreams for all of us. His personal dream came true when his three granddaughters arrived.’
In that incident, she ran over the foot of a 47-year-old man who was in a crosswalk at Desbrosses and Washington streets, authorities said.
Fajardo got out of her SUV but quickly drove off after the victim informed her that he would be filing a report.
Police caught up with her after the victim managed to take a photo of her license plate before she left the scene.
When police questioned her she disputed the man’s account of what happened.
‘I know the incident that you are talking about. I don’t believe that I hit him. I thought he was just exaggerating. This doesn’t make any sense,’ according to the complaint.
‘If I hit his foot, wouldn’t I have hit other parts of his body? I left when he went to call the police because I had to get to work. I am on probation.’