CARMEL, NEW YORK – MAY 3, 2017: Putnam County District Attorney Robert V. Tendy announced today that Richard O’Keefe was sentenced by the Honorable Edward Mcloughlin to one year in jail and revocation of his license based upon an agreed plea to Criminally Negligent Homicide, a class E felony. As part of the plea deal, the defendant has also agreed to refrain from reapplying for a license for one year after his release from jail.
A New York State Police investigation revealed that on November 14, 2015 O’Keefe, a retired Carmel Police Officer, was driving at an excessive rate of speed (between 52 and 58 mph) on Route 6 in the Town of Carmel when his vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by Anna Estrada. The collision caused the vehicle driven by Ms. Estrada to roll on to its passenger side and collide with a third vehicle causing fatal injuries to Frances Ghelarducci who was seated in the rear of the vehicle driven by Estrada.
O’Keefe refused to consent to a chemical screening of his blood sample, so an order was issued compelling submission to a chemical test. The sample was secured and revealed a blood alcohol content of .09%. New York State Police extrapolated Mr. O’Keefe’s blood alcohol content to be .247% at the time of the collision.
Ms. Estrada voluntarily consented to a chemical screening of her blood sample which yielded negative results for alcohol and or drugs.
The collision reconstruction report revealed that the primary cause of the collision was the vehicle driven by Estrada failing to yield the right of way to the defendant’s vehicle; however, contributing factors to the collision were the speed at which O’Keefe was traveling and the fact that he was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
“Our community continues to mourn the loss of a wonderful person who had such a positive impact on so many.” stated DA Tendy. “Frances was a beloved wife, mother and Teacher’s Aide at Primrose Elementary School and is missed dearly by all”.
The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Chana Krauss.