A driver who allegedly hit and killed a woman on Atlantic Avenue Sunday evening will avoid felony charges because his blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, according to law enforcement sources.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office charged Jasen Nhambiu with traffic offenses equivalent to misdemeanors Tuesday, with the top charge, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, carrying a maximum of 30 days in jail, according to DA spokesman Oren Yaniv.
Nhambiu, a 49-year-old Brownsville resident and state-registered attorney, allegedly fatally struck 62-year-old local Alina Morales while driving between Third Avenue and Nevins Street just after 7:45 pm on Nov. 22, according to police reports.
When cops arrived at the scene they said Nhambiu had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, and a smell of booze from his breath, according to a complaint provided by the DA’s office.
A preliminary breath test at the scene showed a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent, below the legal drunk driving limit of 0.08 percent, according to Yaniv.
Cops took Nhambiu back to the 84th Police Precinct, where cops tried to submit him to a more sophisticated breath test, but the legal eagle allegedly refused.
While the preliminary test is not admissible in court, officials did not seek to do a more reliable blood test for alcohol content, because Nhambiu was below the limit in the initial reading and the influence of booze rose only to “impairment” not “intoxication,” according to a law enforcement source.
Had he registered above the legal limit, he would have faced felony vehicular manslaughter charges, which at the lowest degree carry a jail sentence of up to seven years, according to the source.
The lawyer’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a labor relations director at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, but neither he nor the health facility responded to requests for comment.
The defendant had his 16- and 9-year-old sons in the car, which had Pennsylvania license plates and belongs to his father, according to the complaint.
The document states he told police that Morales “came out of nowhere,” and police reports said that she crossed the busy four-lane thoroughfare “mid-block.”
Nhambiu’s charges include two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second and third degrees, and driving with a suspended license.
The defendant has had five driver license suspensions, most recently for failing to pay a fine and appear in response to a traffic summons, according to the complaint.
He will return in January for his next court date, according to the DA’s office.