Police/FireThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Somers Resident Found Guilty in Fatal Wrong-Way Drunk Driving Crash

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A Somers man could face up to 25 years in prison after being found guilty Monday for his actions in a wrong-way, head-on collision two years ago that resulted in the death of two Ardsley residents.

After a four-week bench trial, Jaime Paucar, 52, was found guilty Feb. 7 of two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, and assault in the second degree, all felonies.

He was also found guilty of assault in the third degree, aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting property damage and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting personal injury, all misdemeanors.

Acquitted of two counts of second-degree murder, Paucar faces a sentence ranging from one to 25 years in state prison when he is set to return to court March 28.

“Jaime Paucar’s behavior blazed a path of devastation and destruction that caused two families to suffer immeasurable heartache,” said Westchester District Attorney Miriam Rocah. “For the first time in Westchester, my office determined that the facts of this case warranted murder charges for the deaths caused by a drunk driver. While we are disappointed that the court did not render a guilty verdict for those charges, we respect the court’s decision. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and we hope that the multiple guilty verdicts will provide them with some degree of justice.”

According to Rocah, on Jan. 30, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Paucar drove westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-287 in Harrison when he crashed head-on into the car driven by 57-year-old Jordan Wachtell, of Ardsley, whose 17-year-old son and two teenage friends were passengers. A Westchester County toxicologist determined Paucar had a blood alcohol content of .24 at the time of the collision.

Wachtell died at the scene. One of the passengers, Eric Goldberg, 17, was transported to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he died that night. Watchell’s son and the other surviving passenger were also transported to Westchester Medical Center, where they were treated for their injuries.

As detailed during the trial, prior to the fatal collision, Paucar was driving in the correct direction on I-287 when he crashed into a vehicle, fled the scene, exited the highway and retreated to a parking lot in Port Chester. Then, while attempting to drive home, Paucar missed the entrance for I-287 and drove on several side streets before using an exit ramp to enter I-287, ignoring signage and at least three motorists warning him he was driving the wrong way. The defendant then drove westbound in the eastbound lanes for more than two miles, sideswiping three additional vehicles before the final fatal crash.

New York State Police arrested Paucar in March 2020 following a thorough investigation. The case was heard by Judge George Fufidio in Westchester County Court.

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