(SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced the guilty plea of Robert Hengeveld who was charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide for leading police on a chase in a stolen pickup truck before crashing into another car and killing its driver.
“This defendant’s reckless actions caused the tragic death of a teenager. Not only was he in possession of a stolen truck but he also engaged the police in a high-speed chase through Suffolk County while high on drugs and endangered countless other motorists in the process,” said Tierney. “While this plea cannot bring back the victim, it does hold the defendant responsible for his actions and protects Suffolk’s citizens from further reckless acts by this defendant.”
In addition to pleading guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Class B Felony), Hengeveld also pled guilty to the following charges:
1 count of Unlawful Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree (Class D Felony);
1 count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree (Class E Felony);
1 count of Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs; and
1 count of Reckless Driving.
According to court documents and the defendant’s statements, on October 19, 2021 at approximately 11:42 p.m. Hengeveld, aged 51, drove a stolen 2004 Toyota Tacoma through a red light at the intersection of County Road 83 and the Long Island Expressway South Service Road which resulted in him crashing into a 1999 Honda Civic driven by 19-year-old Starlin Diaz Felipe killing him instantly. Hengeveld also had a passenger in the vehicle who was ejected and suffered Serious Physical Injury, namely a brain bleed and a broken jaw. The crash was the culmination of an 11-minute pursuit Hengeveld led Suffolk County Police on after he sped away from a traffic stop. The defendant went through multiple red lights, went over double yellow lines and sped at high rates of speed. The vehicle Hengeveld was driving was reported stolen and the license plate that was affixed to the vehicle was also reported stolen. The defendant later indicated that he had smoked crack cocaine.
This case was heard before the Hon. Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro. Based on the charges, Hengeveld faced a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison. He is due back in court for sentencing on July 13 and he is being represented by Oscar Christafio of Legal Aid Society.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Daniel P. Cronin, Jr., of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.
Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments.
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.
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