A man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to driving in a major car wreck that killed a woman and left several others hospitalized in Lawrence, Massachusetts, last year.
Pedro Nieves admitted to manslaughter by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Under the plea deal, Nieves would spend up to 18 years in prison, with the sentences for the three charges running concurrently.
Surveillance video of the April 29, 2021, crash shows one car smash headlong into another, slicing one in half, just after midnight at the intersection of Winthrop Avenue and South Union Street at about 12:23 a.m.
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"Quite frankly, this individual should never drive again," Judge C. William Barrett said in Lawrence Superior Court.
He said that ensuring Nieves doesn't get a driver's license "will be the most important thing I do today," though prosecutors said that would fall on the Registry of Motor Vehicles, to which the judge could recommend restricting his ability to get a license.
Gabriela Hernandez, a 24-year-old from Lawrence who was a passenger in the car that was hit, died at the scene. Four people were hospitalized with serious injuries.
Nieves, of Lawrence, initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors had said that he and his friends admitted they had been drinking at a pub prior to the crash.
Nieves and his two passengers -- a 31-year old Lawrence man and a 29-year old Methuen man -- were injured in the crash, but none of them would allegedly say who was driving, and it took weeks for charges to be filed.
Surveillance video showed Nieves driving the car prior to the crash. Nieves' blood alcohol content was 0.17% at the hospital after the crash, prosecutors had said, more than double the legal limit of 0.08%.
The crash, involving a black 2011 Honda Civic and a gray 2006 Acura, happened when the Civic was hit by the Acura, driven by Nieves, sending half of the Civic into the parking lot of the E Market convenience store on the corner, according to police accounts and the surveillance footage.
NBC Boston's Asher Klein, Alysha Palumbo and Mary Markos contributed to this report.