Former NYC firefighter pleads guilty to wrong-way drunk driving crash that killed man on Sunken Meadow Parkway
A wrong-way drunk driver responsible for killing a Queens teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated vehicular homicide, among other charges.
Joseph Norris was found to have a blood alcohol content of .29 when he killed Anthony Mariano in a crash on the Sunken Meadow Parkway in 2020.
The 40-year-old, who was formerly a member of the FDNY, admitted to driving for over three miles in the wrong direction when he crashed into Mariano. Norris also lost both of his legs in the crash.
Mariano's fiancée Christie Azzolini said the timing of Norris guilty plea is later than it should have been.
"If he was going to plead guilty, he should have just been a man and did it when he came out of the hospital," Azzolini said. "Instead of putting his parents, family and friends through this."
Norris' attorney Anthony Lapinta says hopefully this can be the first step in the healing process for two grieving families.
"Mr. Norris has taken full responsibility for his actions," Lapinta says.
Norris is facing five to 15 years in prison - sentence that Azzolini does not think is enough for the person who killed her loved one.
"The penalties for drunk driving need to be increased in general, and on Long Island you wake up every day to a drunk driving accident," Azzolini says.
Norris will be sentenced on July 19.
He has been out on bail since his arraignment and was supported by over a dozen firefighters in court.