Stephen Dolan, 47, has pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal after drunkenly hitting Christopher Jack 'CJ' Hackett, 16, who was riding a scooter on McLean Avenue in Yonkers, New York, on August 3, 2022.
Dolan pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and driving while intoxicated on Thursday, September 14.
Supreme Court Justice James McCarty promised him a state prison term of 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years after prosecutors sought the maximum 2 1/3 to seven years, according to LoHud.
While Assistant District Attorney James Bavero requested that Dolan be taken into custody immediately, Justice McCarty allowed Dolan a week to get his affairs in order, including arranging for the care of his teenage daughter.
Sentencing has been scheduled for December 14.
On August 5, 2022, Yonkers Police confirmed that they had responded to the 600 block of McLean Avenue on a report of a scooter operator having been struck by a vehicle just after midnight on August 3.
Hackett was discovered with severe head injuries and transported to a local hospital. The vehicle that had struck him fled the scene. Hackett died from his injuries on August 4.
An investigation was launched where authorities interviewed subjects and witnesses, recovered surveillance video, processed forensic evidence, and reconstructed the accident dynamics.
The investigation showed that Hackett, 16, was operating an electric scooter west on McLean Avenue in the eastbound lane when he was struck head-on by a cargo van traveling east in the eastbound lane. The van fled the scene; a witness called 911.
Over the next 36 hours, detectives worked to successfully locate the van and identify Dolan, who was placed into custody without incident. The vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Express, was impounded as evidence.
Investigators said at the time that they believed Dolan was consuming alcohol before the accident and was under the influence of intoxicants.
On August 8, 2022, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced that Dolan was charged with Leaving the Scene of an Incident with a Fatality Without Reporting, a felony. He was arraigned on August 5, 2022, in Yonkers City Court and bail was set.
According to ABC News, prosecutors alleged during the arraignment that surveillance video showed Dolan drinking at two bars, consuming at least 17 drinks before the crash.
Dolan, who was an employee with the Yonkers Public Works department, was arrested at work the day after the crash. A city spokesperson told LoHud on Thursday that he was fired two weeks after the accident.
Hackett, whose mother is from Co Leitrim and whose paternal grandparents were from Co Carlow, was about to begin his third year of high school when the tragedy occurred.
The teen was well-known in the tight-knit, Irish American communities of Woodlawn / Yonkers, as well as East Durham in upstate New York. A memorial to Hackett was erected at the scene of the accident and remains there to this day.
In May, legislation nicknamed 'CJ's Law' was introduced in the New York State Assembly "in relation to increasing the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident without reporting where such accident resulted in the death of a minor to a class C felony punishable by a fine of not less than four thousand nor more than eight thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law."
Less than a month ago, Hackett’s family launched an online petition “JUSTICE FOR Christopher Jack Hackett (CJ)" which says that "CJ's family, friends, classmates, and community will be watching, waiting, and praying that Stephen Dolan is prosecuted appropriately for his heinous crime.”
At the time of publication on Thursday night, the petition had received 1,532 signatures.