Family of Woman Killed in High-Speed Lawrence Car Crash Pushes for Justice

The family of Gaby Hernandez was in court Thursday as the man accused of causing the horrific crash that killed her in Lawrence this April was charged in her death

NBC Universal, Inc.

It took seven weeks for charges to be brought in the fatal crash, but the victim's family says they knew justice would be served.

"She would always be laughing," said Gaby Hernandez' sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hernandez. "She had a good heart, like she was willing to be there for you."

The family of the 24-year-old was there for her Thursday as the man accused of causing the horrific crash that killed her -- allegedly driving more than 100 miles an hour -- was charged in her death.

Pedro Nieves, a 29-year-old from Lawrence, faced a slew of charges in Lawrence District Court Thursday, including manslaughter and operating under the influence.

"Justice is going to be made as much as God's will," said Hernandez's husband, Darwin Hernandez.

He said he's still in shock that he lost the love of his life and the mother of their two small children.

But he was also upset that all three men in the Acura that crashed into Gaby's friend's Honda allegedly denied being the driver.

"It's one of the worst feelings in the world. It felt like as if it happened to me and I have to look at the person who did it trying to say that it wasn't him," Hernandez said.

Using surveillance video and witness accounts, prosecutors said, investigators were able to put Nieves behind the wheel as the Acura ran a red light on April 29 and smashed into the Honda, splitting it in half. He was arrested Thursday.

Staggering security footage caught a car flying into a convenience store in Lawrence in a crash that left one person dead and four hurt.

Prosecutor Sorina Puzzo said a passenger in the car said to investigators, "He saw Mr. Nieves step on it and went into what he called 'demon mode.'"

Nieves' blood alcohol content was 0.17 at the hospital after the crash, prosecutors said, more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

Nieves pleaded not guilty and, outside court, his father adamantly denied his son was responsible for the fatal crash.

"I know he didn't do it, I know he wasn't the driver," said the suspect's father, also named Pedro Nieves.

Asked how he knows, Nieves responded, "Because I know he wasn't the (expletive) driver."

But Gaby Hernandez' family believes they are finally getting justice.

"When you do something wrong, regardless if it takes them one day, one month, a year, they're still going to make justice happen," Elizabeth Hernandez said.

Nieves is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for June 24.

Contact Us