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Jury Deliberating in Trial of Gristedes Driver Who Allegedly Ran Over Pregnant Woman

By DNAinfo Staff on December 6, 2010 4:54pm

Keston Brown, 28, testified at his trial that he was not impaired when he drove into two pedestrians.
Keston Brown, 28, testified at his trial that he was not impaired when he drove into two pedestrians.
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Manhattan District Attorney

By Olivia Scheck

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — Lawyers delivered their closing arguments Monday in the case of a Gristedes van driver who allegedly ran over and killed a pregnant woman.

The driver, Keston Brown, 28, faces manslaughter and criminal negligence charges in connection to the incident, which took the life of mom-to-be Ysemny Ramos, 29, and injured her friend Tassia Katsiambanis as they left their office on March 27, 2009.

Brown testified that he had been drinking at a bar happy hour before getting behind the wheel of the vehicle, but he claimed he was not intoxicated and blamed the accident on the van's mechanical problems.

During their closing arguments on Monday, both sides pointed to the testimony of the state’s expert mechanic.

"There is no question the brakes locked – their own witness said it did," Brown’s attorney, Patrick Watts, told the jury. "And there’s no question that’s what caused the accident."

But while Assistant District Attorney Rachel Hochhauser conceded that there was a mechanical problem with the van, she said the issue was with the steering box and said that based on the mechanic’s testimony, that defect would not have caused the brakes to lock.

Instead, Hochhauser claimed that an intoxicated Brown responded to the loss of steering control by slamming on the gas rather than the brakes.

"He killed her with every swallow that he took, every drink that he ordered," the prosecutor argued.

Prosecutors have also claimed that Brown was speeding up and slowing down and changing lanes so that he and a passenger could cat-call women, including the victims, just before the accident occurred.

During his closing, defense lawyer Watts noted that his client has six children and no criminal record. He served in the army and was planning to join the U.S. Border Patrol before the deadly accident, according to his lawyer.

The jury is currently deliberating.