NY firefighter charged in fatal wrong-way DWI crash

Officials said the firefighter's blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit at the time of the crash


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — An off-duty firefighter drunkenly drove the wrong way down a one-way street, slammed into another car and killed a woman delivering newspapers Monday.

The Associated Press reported that White Plains firefighter Erik Refvik, 34, was arrested on charges including criminally negligent homicide after the wreck.

He was arraigned at the hospital, where bail was set at $25,000. Authorities said Refvik, a city firefighter for four years, had a blood-alcohol level of .145 percent — almost twice the legal threshold for DWI.

Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said Refvik has been suspended without pay. Refvik had a prior DWI conviction, pleading guilty in 2003 following an arrest in Manhattan, according to the report.

"It appears that he was going at a very high rate of speed," Chong said. "One woman is dead and two lives are changed forever in this absolute tragedy."

The woman who was killed, identified as Reyda LaMadrid, 47, was in the back seat of a Honda driven by her husband, Edgar Lopez, 49, when it was hit by Refvik's Chevrolet Tahoe at an intersection.

Chong said Lopez was in serious condition with non-life threatening upper body and internal injuries, according to the report.

The homicide charge is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. The DWI charge is a misdemeanor, but would have been a felony if Refvik's prior conviction had been within 10 years.

"Our thoughts and prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the families," said Joe Carrier, president of White Plains Professional Firefighters union local 274. "Obviously it's a terribly sad day for the department and for the union."

Firefighter Refvik is due in city court on Nov. 17. 

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