Police announced Thursday that they have arrested 29-year-old Pedro Nieves for his involvement in a fatal car crash at the end of April in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
A 20-year-old Lawrence woman was badly injured and her passenger, Gabriela Hernandez, 24, also of Lawrence, died at the scene. In all, four people were hospitalized with serious injuries after the April 29 crash.
Nieves, of Lawrence, was arrested Thursday morning by state police, according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque.
"I am happy that the individual responsible for this senseless tragedy, where one young woman lost her life and a second young woman was seriously injured, has been brought to justice," Vasque said in a statement. "This event could have been avoided, and is yet another example of how reckless and impaired driving has tragic consequences. My heart goes out to the families of both victims."
Nieves pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Lawrence District Court Thursday on charges of manslaughter by motor vehicle, operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and other related charges.
Some of Hernandez's relatives were in the courtroom for the arraignment.
Prosecutors said Nieves and his friends admitted they had been drinking at a pub prior to the crash. He 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 say who was driving, which is why it took almost two months for charges to be filed. Surveillance video showed Nieves driving the car prior to the crash.
Nieves' blood alcohol content was .17 at the hospital after the crash, prosecutors said, more than double the legal limit of .08.
Surveillance video captured by two cameras of the crash showed one car smashing headlong into another. The force of the crash cut one car in two, sending one half sliding into the parking lot of the E Market convenience store on the corner, according to the footage.
The crash, involving a black 2011 Honda Civic and a gray 2006 Acura, happened at the intersection of Winthrop Avenue and South Union Street around 12:23 a.m. on April 29, according to the Lawrence Police Department.
The 20-year old Lawrence woman was driving the Honda Civic on Winthrop Avenue when her car was hit by the Acura, allegedly driven by Nieves, traveling on South Union Street. She was taken by medical helicopter to a Boston hospital with serious injuries.
“Our prayers are with the Hernandez Family for their loss and with Lucidania Peña that she may recover” Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said in a statement. “Automotive fatalities are avoidable and while this arrest brings closure to a tragic situation I call on all Lawrencians to practice prudence in their driving especially as summer months arrive.”