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Ron Perelman’s former house worker pleads guilty in fatal DWI crash in Montauk


A house worker for billionaire investor Ron Perelman has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and manslaughter nearly a year and a half after she was accused of killing a bicyclist in a drunken car crash in the Hamptons. 

Lisa Rooney, 32, entered her plea on the two felony charges in Suffolk Supreme Court on Friday. She faces up to 25 years in prison at her sentencing on June 18.  

Rooney – whose mother is NYC-based judge Bruna L DiBiase – was driving her 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck through Montauk on the evening of October 30, 2019, when she struck John James Usma-Quintero, 28.  

The then-30-year-old failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol level was found to be more than double the legal driving limit. Police also discovered several bags with cocaine on the floor of her car. 

Usma-Quintero, a father-of-two from Colombia who was leaving his shift at a 7-Eleven in Montauk when he was mowed down, was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead. 

Lisa Rooney, 32,  pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges on Friday – nearly a year and a half after she was accused of killing a bicyclist in a drunken car crash in the Hamptons. Pictured: Rooney is taken into police custody hours after the crash in October 2019

Rooney was driving her 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck through Montauk on the evening of October 30, 2019, when she struck John James Usma-Quintero, 28. The truck is seen crashed on the side of the road that night

Rooney was driving her 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck through Montauk on the evening of October 30, 2019, when she struck John James Usma-Quintero, 28. The truck is seen crashed on the side of the road that night

John James Usma-Quintero, 28, (pictured) was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead after the crash

Family members said Usma-Quintero was leaving his shift at 7-Eleven when he was hit

John James Usma-Quintero (left and right) was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead after the crash. Family members said he was leaving his shift at 7-Eleven when he was hit 

Rooney (pictured) failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol level was found to be more than double the legal driving limit hours after the crash. Police also discovered several bags with cocaine on the floor of her car

Rooney (pictured) failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol level was found to be more than double the legal driving limit hours after the crash. Police also discovered several bags with cocaine on the floor of her car

Rooney initially told police that she had swerved to avoid an oncoming car when she was driving north on Flamingo Road just after sunset on the night of the crash.  

‘I don’t know what happened, I swerved to avoid a car who was in the middle of the road and I hit the guardrail… I didn’t see the bicycle, is he okay?’ she told officers, according to court documents.

Officers observed a strong odor of alcohol on Rooney’s breath and reported that her speech was slurred. 

She refused a blood alcohol test when she was taken back to police headquarters. However a test taken at a hospital hours later showed her blood alcohol level was still more than twice the legal driving limit. 

Black box data from Rooney’s truck later revealed that she had been driving 85 miles per hour – more than double the 40 mile per hour speed limit on the road. 

Rooney initially told police that she had swerved to avoid an oncoming car when she was driving north on Flamingo Road just after sunset on the night of the crash

Rooney initially told police that she had swerved to avoid an oncoming car when she was driving north on Flamingo Road just after sunset on the night of the crash 

Black box data from Rooney's truck later revealed that she had been driving 85 miles per hour - more than double the 40 mile per hour speed limit on the road

Black box data from Rooney’s truck later revealed that she had been driving 85 miles per hour – more than double the 40 mile per hour speed limit on the road 

Rooney was originally charged with driving while intoxicated the day after the crash in the East Town Justice Court.

She was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to undergo treatment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program – despite the district attorney’s recommendation that bail be set at $50,000. 

Judge Lisa Rana set the low bail, citing the fact that Rooney is a life-long resident of Montauk and the owner of a local boutique called Girltauk.  

Rooney was an employee at billionaire investor Ron Perelman's sprawling East Hampton estate. A spokesperson for Perelman (pictured) said she was fired and banned from the estate after the crash

Rooney was an employee at billionaire investor Ron Perelman’s sprawling East Hampton estate. A spokesperson for Perelman (pictured) said she was fired and banned from the estate after the crash

She was also an employee at billionaire investor Perelman’s sprawling East Hampton estate, though her specific job title there was unclear. A spokesperson for Perelman said she was fired and banned from the estate after the crash.

Rooney’s case was adjourned in December 2019 because she was in in-patient rehab and could not attend her hearing as scheduled – prompting outrage from 40 of Usma-Quintero’s relatives who’d gone to the court for the hearing.  

A grand jury handed down an 11-count indictment later that month and the case was moved to County Court in Central Islip. 

The new judge assigned to oversee the case, Justice Fernando Camacho, recused himself because he was friends with Rooney’s mother, Judge DiBiase.

The case was then transferred to Acting State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen but was once again put on hold when the coronavirus pandemic halted court proceedings around the US.  

Cohen retired late last year and the case was transferred to a fourth judge, Justice Richard Ambro, who oversaw Rooney’s plea last week.

In addition to the two felony charges for vehicular homicide and felony manslaughter, Rooney also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for felony DWI and criminal possession of a controlled substance.  

Rooney was originally charged with driving while intoxicated the day after the crash in the East Town Justice Court

Rooney was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to undergo treatment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program in November 2019

Rooney (left and right) was originally charged with driving while intoxicated the day after the crash in the East Town Justice Court. She was released on $1,000 bail and ordered to undergo treatment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program 

Rooney has remained in rehab since she was first charged, according to the East Hampton Star

She faces a prison minimum sentence of eight years and four months and maximum of 25 years at her sentencing before Justice Ambro this summer.  

Usma-Quintero’s loved ones did not appear to have reacted publicly about Rooney’s guilty plea, after having attended many of her hearings and demanded justice for the father-of-two. 

The 28-year-old had reportedly worked at the Montauk 7-Eleven for four months at the time of his death and was sending money back to his two daughters who lived in Colombia.  

He had been employed there for about four months, sending the money back to Colombia to support his two daughters, then 8 and 15 years old.

A makeshift memorial honoring Usma-Quintero is pictured at the scene of the fatal crash

A makeshift memorial honoring Usma-Quintero is pictured at the scene of the fatal crash

Ron Perelman's East Hampton estate, where Rooney worked before the crash, is shown above

Ron Perelman’s East Hampton estate, where Rooney worked before the crash, is shown above



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