UPPER WEST SIDE — The driver who struck and killed local wife and mother Jean Chambers almost a year-and-a-half ago was sentenced to serve one to three years in prison Tuesday, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.
Roberto Mercado, 52, hit Chambers with his Ford Explorer as she was crossing West End Avenue at West 95th Street with the walk light on July 10, 2014, authorities said.
The crash killed Chambers, 61, and a jury ruled Mercado was guilty of criminally negligent homicide in mid-November.
The crash was categorized as a Class E felony, under which Mercado could have received anything ranging from community service and probation to prison time.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Paskinoff argued Mercado should receive the maximum sentence of one year and three months to four years. as Chambers' death represented "the culmination of years of [Mercado's] careless, unlawful and irresponsible driving," according to a letter to Judge Daniel Conviser.
In the six months preceding the incident, Mercado struck three other pedestrians with his car, including a 13-year-old boy in a hit-and-run, according to court documents.
Additionally, he drove without a license for more than a decade and incurred a lengthy record of traffic violations that led to more than $1,000 in fines and 60 days of jail time — none of which led him to take extra caution while driving, Paskinoff said in his letter.
Chambers' death was "entirely preventable," he added.
Furthermore, Mercado did not show remorse for killing Chambers and shifted the blame to her in an interview with his insurance company, saying she should have seen him, Paskinoff said.
Judge Conviser granted Mercado two weeks to get his affairs in order before he returns to court on Jan. 26 to begin his sentence, a spokeswoman for the DA said.
When Mercado was found guilty in November, Chambers' husband John said that no sentence would bring her back and that he hoped justice would prevail. He declined to comment on the sentence Tuesday.
"It's a tragedy for both families... [Mercado] was a good family man. He has children," said Mercado's lawyer, John Napolitano, Sr.
"Because of the triple incidents, the jury felt that there had to be some punishment."