Sandwich defense: Lawyer for trash truck driver charged in fatal accident says lunch may have absorbed alcohol in his system

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Updated Aug 18, 2018

A refuse truck driver that struck and killed a 23-year-old woman Friday in New York City was charged with driving while intoxicated, but his lawyer is contesting that charge saying that his lunch may have absorbed the alcohol.

Felipe Chairez, 44, has been charged with DWI and other violations after slamming into and killing Madison Jane Lyden around 5 p.m. as she rode her bike near Central Park. Police say that Lyden, an Australian tourist, had swerved out of the path of an Uber that had entered the bike lane just before she was hit by Chairez’ truck.

Lyden (Facebook)Lyden (Facebook)

Chairez told police at the scene that he had consumed two beers prior to driving. Police reported finding three empty beer cans in the truck, according to the New York Post.

However, Chairez’ attorney said in court Saturday that his client’s lunch may have helped lower his blood alcohol level which police said was between .04 and .06 percent at the time of the fatal accident.

“If he had a chicken salad sandwich, the alcohol may have been absorbed by the lunch he had,” lawyer Kenneth Ware said.

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, the state uses blood alcohol concentration, or BAC to determine a DWI charge.

BAC levels that allow for a DWI charge in New York:

  • 08 percent and you’re 21 years old or older.
  • 04 percent and you’re driving a commercial motor vehicle.
  • 02 percent and you’re younger than 21 years old.

Chairez was arrested and released on his own recognizance. He was also required to surrender his license prior to adjudication.