A TRAGIC END TO AN ALCOHOL & DRUG CRASH

On November 3, 2014, a four year veteran firefighter from White Plains caused a horrific collision when he sped one-third of a mile in the wrong direction on South Lexington Avenue and slammed into a Honda Civic head on. The collision killed a newspaper delivery woman and critically injured her ex-husband. The collision occurred at 4:30 A.M. after the firefighter (Refvik) went on a 12 hour drinking binge at local bars and ingested a “cocktail of drugs” including cocaine, sedatives and bath salts. His blood alcohol level was .021%, three times the legal limit.

Refvik 34, was arraigned in March, 2015 on an indictment charging him with aggravated homicide, aggravated manslaughter, vehicular assault, drunk driving, drug possession and numerous traffic violations. He killed Reyda LaMadrid 47, and injured 49 year old Edgar Lopez, who were delivering newspapers. After hitting the couples’ Honda Civic, Refvik then reversed his SUV and smashed into the lobby of an apartment building, according to an article in The Journal News on September 26, 2015 by Richard Liebson. When emergency responders arrived at the scene, prosecutors said Refvik told them “what a way to end a Sunday fun day.”

State Supreme Court Justice Barry Warhit sentenced Erik Refvik, who pleaded guilty, to aggravated homicide and all other charges in a 16 count indictment to 5 – 15 years in State prison on Friday, September 25, 2015. On sentencing, the Judge said “you shattered lives and their pain will never go away”. Lopez, the driver of the car that was hit said through a Spanish interpreter, that Refvik “caused the death of the mother of my children. The pain is too much for the whole family. I do not have the words to ease their pain.” Assistant Westchester County District Attorney, Michelle Lopez, who prosecuted the case, said that as a firefighter, Refvik should have been “a life saver rather than a life taker.” Instead she said, wasted on drugs and alcohol “he made a choice to drive home. He didn’t have to – he lived blocks from the bars … He chose to get into his car and drive in a reckless manner he did.” An impact statement written by a 19 year old Roslyn LaMadrid, one of the victim’s two children was read by the Assistant District Attorney which said “every time I think about my mother, I feel like I’m in a nightmare and can’t wake up”. She wrote “It feels like half of me died too. No one can replace my mom. No one can bring my mom back, but she will always live in our hearts and minds forever.” A tragic end to a tragedy fueled by drugs and alcohol.

In April, Edgar Lopez filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Brother Jimmy’s BBQ at 47 Mamaroneck Avenue “directly caused” the crash “by the unlawful sale and/or gift of alcoholic and intoxicating beverages by the defendants”, a violation of the Dram Shop Act. The plaintiff must prove that the firefighter who had been drinking all day was intoxicated when he continued to drink at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and was served alcohol when he was already drunk.

One 34 year old firefighter is in jail. One mother of 2 children, Reyda LaMadrid 47 is dead and one former husband and father, Edgar Lopez 49, who was critically injured is still out of work and will live with his injuries for the rest of his life. In addition to prison time, Refvik was fined $3,525 and ordered not to have contact with the victims’ family. Judge Warhit told Refvik “don’t send them an apology letter, they want nothing to do with you.”

If you, or a loved one, have been injured by a drunk or drugged driver, contact the Law Office of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or e-mail us at djrobolaw@aol.com or on our web page under White-Plains-Personal-Injury-Lawyer.com.