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Feb 28 2020

Military veteran sentenced to 6 to 12 years in DWI collision with patrol car

A U.S. Coast Guard veteran was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison for a Long Island drunk driving accident that seriously injured a Nassau police officer. He was accused of being intoxicated with alcohol and drugs, as well as of speeding.

Keith Dillon, 30, pleaded guilty to aggravated DWI (driving while intoxicated), second-degree assault and aggravated vehicular assault. Aggravated DWI is a more serious charge than DWI since it implies that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was more than twice the legal limit. Authorities said Dillon had a BAC of 0.27 at the time of the accident, which was more than three times New York’s legal limit of 0.08.

The incident occurred in Greenvale at around 2:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day in 2018. Dillon’s Dodge Ram crossed the center median into oncoming traffic and struck an unmarked police patrol car head-on at 70 miles per hour. The patrol car was being driven by Nassau police officer Willard Gomes, 38, who was patrolling for drunk drivers. The force of impact caused his car to rotate 180 degrees, while Dillon’s vehicle flipped over.

Gomes sustained multiple injuries in the crash including a brain bleed, broken bones and a neck injury. Dillon fractured his ankle. Investigators found cocaine and Xanax in Dillon’s vehicle after the accident. Prior to driving his pickup truck, the military veteran was thought to have consumed shots of whiskey and eight glasses of wine at a New Year’s Eve party.

“I don’t hold any animosity towards him,” Gomes said outside the court following Dillon’s sentencing. “Obviously, he’s not a criminal, per se. He made a bad choice on that day.”

An aggravated DWI charge is not to be taken lightly. Even a first offense can carry stiff penalties, including jail time, fines and driver’s license revocation. The attorneys at Brill Legal Group are experienced with crafting a compelling defense for our clients, whether it is their first DWI arrest or a repeat offense.