Posted at: 10/08/2013 5:48 PM
| Updated at: 10/08/2013 6:12 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - It was a horrible crash that killed a limousine driver on a Long Island freeway and a seven year old girl who was sleeping after a late night wedding party.
Pick-up truck driver Martin Heidgen had been drinking for nearly ten hours before getting behind the wheel and driving two and a half miles in the wrong direction.
He tested at a blood alcohol level of point 28, more than three times the legal limit.
Tuesday afternoon the Court of Appeals heard Heidgen's case and two similar where innocents were killed but the drunk drivers survived and were convicted of second degree murder.
"We have to look into the mind of the defendant and there is no proof here that he knew that he was going in the wrong direction," argued Heidgen's attorney Jillian Harrington.
It doesn't happen often, but New York law allows prosecutors to charge depraved indifference murder when drunk drivers get behind the wheel and cause death.
But prosecutors have a tight line to walk.
If the driver was drunk, in Heidgen's case, really drunk, did he purposely get in the car and drive the wrong way?
Or was he so out of it that he had no idea what he was doing?
Usually the Court of Appeals takes about six weeks to issue its decision.
If the murders convictions are overturned the defendants are likely to remain convicted of lesser felony drunk driving charges.