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Governor Cuomo, Mark A. Knapp is dead because of you!

by Ron Holdraker
November 16, 2019

All too often, government makes and pushes new laws through without thinking about the consequences. What sounds good on paper, may not pass the smell test in reality.

Such is the case of Heriberto R. Perez- Velasquez. Due to some of the new reforms to the New York State Criminal Justice System, the family of Mark A. Knapp had to bury him last week.

You see, Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez was driving very drunk at approximately 1:45 PM on Sunday, November 10, on Route 31 in the Village of Weedsport. Knapp’s small tractor was struck from behind by a 2010 Chevy Cobalt being operated by Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez.

Knapp was ejected and suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Perez-Velasquez fled the scene on foot and was apprehended a short distance away.

The investigation has revealed that Heriberto Perez-Velasquez is an undocumented immigrant originally from Guatemala. He was subsequently charged with Vehicular Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree – Felony; Driving While Intoxicated – Misdemeanor; Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident – Misdemeanor; Fail to Use Designated Lane - Infraction.

Okay, you say, an unfortunate accident caused by a drunk driver. But wait! There is more to the story.

Three weeks earlier Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez, age 31, then residing in Sodus, was arrested by State Police. They found him in his car, stopped in the middle of the road, without the vehicle lights on. He was charged with, wait for it...DWI/BAC, Aggravated DWI with a blood alcohol level of .22%. Oh, and true to form he was also charged with Resisting Arrest after he attempted to run as handcuffs were being administered. It was easy to catch since Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez, could hardly walk, no less run.

Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez was taken to Wayne County Centralized Arraignment - Not because he was unmistakably drunk and driving and resisting arrest, since under the NEW Criminal Justice System in New York, those crimes result in nothing more that appearance tickets, but because it was discovered he was also an undocumented immigrant. In fact, he had been already deported once in May of 2007.

The State Trooper called the Wayne County District Attorney Mike Calarco directly, who recommended $2500 cash/$5000 bond put on Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez Once State Troopers delivered Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez to centralized arraignment, they declined his case due to the new laws and Heriberto R. Perez- Velasquez was then simply released on appearance tickets.

U.S. Border Patrol was called, but because Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez was not being technically held on the other charges, they refused to come and get him.

Back on the road went Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez, in his less than shiny 2010 Chevy Cobalt, only to encounter Mark A. Knapp in the middle of the day on November 10.

“This is exactly what is going to happen”, said one State Police Trooper. If the arrest does not fit the new “criteria”, certain people will be released. Local courts no longer have the judgement/ discretion to put someone, anyone behind bars.

Wayne County District Attorney Mike Calarco stated that since the new laws technically do not go into effect until January 1st, Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez could have been arraigned.

But State Police have been following the new directives imposed by the State for well over a month and besides Centralized Arraignment in Wayne County refused to accept him on the charges.

All the agencies involved are in a quagmire, pointing fingers in every direction. Basically, the State Trooper followed the rules, Centralized Arraignment followed the rules and even U.S. Border Patrol followed the rules.

At least we should be grateful that the Governor and State allow police to jail somebody on Vehicular Manslaughter. Oops wait! According to District Attorney Calarco, Vehicular Manslaughter is technically a no-bail offense and a case must be argued before the court to have bail set.

Condolences to the family of Mark A. Knapp for a death that could have been prevented. Mark A. Knapp is dead because NYS, the very liberal Governor and Legislature think they KNOW BEST.

Just wait folks, there will be many more of these shenanigans to follow after January 1st.

As for Heriberto R. Perez-Velasquez? After some jail time the Undocumented Migrant he will be deported back to Guatemala.

My fear now is that this story will go, not only statewide, but national. In the closed minds of many, this story will also vilify every migrant worker, even those who work hard legally in farms and factories on a daily basis to survive.

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