Melissa Rupa, 25, was reportedly on her way to visit her family on June 2 with friend Rafaelito DeJesus, 23, of Valley Stream, when they were struck from behind by a vehicle around 1:10 a.m. on near exit 16 on the New York State Thruway.
According to police, the two were thrown from the motorcycle and were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle reportedly fled the scene and was later arrested by Woodbury police after the Orange County medical examiner, who had just come back from the crash scene, noticed a vehicle driving erratically and called police.
The Times-Herald Record is reporting that the driver, Luis Munoz, of Ossining, plead guilty on Oct. 10 in Orange County Court to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The prosecution has said Munoz, who was angry with his girlfriend for not returning his texts, had at least seven beers before getting in his car around 11:30 p.m. June 1. He meant to go to New Jersey but got on the Thruway and headed north, still texting his girlfriend. Near exit 16, he lost control of the car and veered into a safety area, where he struck Melissa Rupa, 25, of Mineola, and Rafaelito DeJesus, 23, of Valley Stream, who were on a motorcycle and had pulled into the area.
The collision killed both DeJesus and Rupa and Munoz initially fled the scene before being arrested. Prosecutors state that Munoz had a blood-alcohol level of 0.15, almost two times the legal limit at the time of the accident.
Orange County District Attorney Karen Edelman-Reyes stated that she is seeking a sentence of six to 18 years in state prison. The maximum sentence under state law would be eight-and-a-third to 25 years. Munoz is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 8.