Off-duty NY firefighter indicted in wrong-way crash that killed newspaper deliverer

Associated Press

An off-duty firefighter was arraigned Monday on charges he barreled head-on into another vehicle, killing a newspaper deliverer, as he sped the wrong way along a one-way street while severely impaired by drugs and alcohol.

Erik Refvik faces a 16-count indictment that includes charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, said Janet DeFiore, Westchester County district attorney.

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Reyda La Madrid, an independent contractor for the Journal News' delivery firm, died in the crash early on Nov. 4 in White Plains. Her husband, Edgar Lopez, who was driving their car, suffered serious injuries.

Refvik was going about 65 mph in a 30 mph zone, the prosecutor said. He had driven the wrong way for more than a third of a mile before crashing into the victims' vehicle, which was stopped at a traffic light, and pushing it the length of half a football field, she said.

"No less troubling was the fact that before the collision, this defendant spent the previous 12 hours on a drinking odyssey," pushing his blood-alcohol level to 2 ½ times the legal limit, DiFiore said. He visited at least four bars, she said, but only one refused to serve him.

It's also alleged that Refvik had consumed cocaine, bath salts and clonazepam, which is used to treat a variety of conditions, including epilepsy and panic disorder.

His attorney declined to comment.

Bail is set at $50,000 while Refvik awaits a March 26 court appearance. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.