Bethel man sentenced up to 18 years for vehicular homicide

MONTICELLO, NY — A Bethel resident, Luis Diaz, 35, was sentenced on October 9 to six to 18 years in prison for vehicular homicide and driving while ability impaired by drugs.  

Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell said that Diaz admitted to driving while he was under the influence of drugs on June 20 when he lost control of the vehicle and it crashed on Route 17B in the Town of Thompson.  The accident was so violent that it split the vehicle into two pieces.

 The crash resulted in the death of Noah DeMonda, 10, and caused injuries to his brother who was nine.  A test of Diaz’s blood revealed he had ingested a cocktail of drugs including morphine, Xanax, fentanyl and the tranquilizer meprobamate. 

“For the crimes he committed and the horrific resulting loss of an innocent life this defendant should be held to the full prison sentence of eighteen years imposed in this case.  Defendant’s criminal actions have robbed a family of their son and caused a trauma that will likely never heal.  Noah’s father is heartbroken and his life, and the life of his surviving son, will never be the same.  This case illustrates the clear and present danger that drugged and drunk driving pose to all of us.” Farrell said.

Judge Frank LaBuda had particularly harsh words for Diaz. He said according to the court transcript, “When he woke up that morning, indeed, it's clear he didn't intended to kill anyone. However, it's equally clear that the lifestyle he chose was murderous to the innocent and law-abiding citizens and was murderous for those two little boys, one of whom died as a result of this defendant's intentional use and abuse of drugs, too many to mention at this record.

“Defendant showed no mercy to those little kids and the excuse that he gives in the PSI report that he didn't know he had to drive [that] morning, but was asked by the mother to drive, well, the mother has to live with this for the rest of her life, too.

“Now, Mr. Diaz did take responsibility for what he did, but as he showed those boys no mercy by his lifestyle, I will not show him any mercy today. He has received enough mercy by our criminal justice system which allows him to abuse a life of drugs, kill an innocent little boy, permanently injury another little boy, and he goes walking off into State's Prison.  Well, the sentence here today will be the maximum allowed by the plea arrangement, which I think is appropriate.

“And I can understand well by Mr. Ali, the father of the boy, would not want to come here and face this despicable individual who murdered his son.  Because in many countries in the world, Mr. Diaz would pay for what he did in a way different than a few years in prison. Now, eighteen years may sound a lot, but it's nothing. It's nothing compared to the fifty or sixty years of a little boy's life that you cut short.

“Now, you cry, you cry, you cry the alligator tears. I hope you cry the alligator tears in jail with your friends there who will really appreciate what you did, killing a little boy. It doesn't get more despicable than that.

“Justice? I leave justice to God, because I can't give Mr. Ali his little son and his dead son justice. What can I do? Put you in a cage for eighteen years? I can and I will, not a day less, but justice you'll get on your judgment day, along with the mother of these two little kids.”


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