UPPER WEST SIDE — The driver who hit and killed a local mother on West End Avenue last summer was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and faces up to four years in prison for the crime, authorities said.
Roberto Mercado, 52, was found guilty Friday in the death of Jean Chambers, 61, who was walking in a crosswalk at West End Avenue and West 95th Street on July 10, 2014, with the right of way when he turned onto the avenue and struck her, officials said.
He faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison when he is sentenced in January, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.
Initially, Mercado was not charged with any wrongdoing at the scene, police said at the time.
Chambers was a beloved longtime Upper West Side resident, a graphic designer for The New York Times, and an animal lover who frequented the local dog parks and attended St. Michael's Episcopal Church.
"No conviction will bring Jean back," her husband, John Chambers, told DNAinfo New York Monday, praising the work of Assistant District Attorney Michael Pasinkoff in building a case against Mercado.
"I always expected that justice would prevail," he said, adding, "I don’t think I’ll ever put this behind me."
Witnesses to the crash said Mercado made a "short left turn" in his 2004 Ford Explorer, taking the shortest route to head northbound by crossing into the southbound lane, where he hit Chambers.
In the months following her death, the Department of Transportation re-engineered the intersection and three others along the avenue — at West 97th Street, West 79th Street and West 72nd Street — adding a pedestrian island to deter drivers from making improper turns.
A year after Chambers' death, data analysis by DNAinfo showed crashes were down at the intersection where she was killed.
Earlier this month, an 86-year-old woman was killed by a driver on West End Avenue at West 64th Street, police said.
Mercado's lawyer did not immediately provide a comment.