D.A. Vance: Driver Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter for Killing Pedestrian on Upper West Side

December 3, 2020

Defendant Also Pleads Guilty to Striking Two Other Pedestrians, One in a Prior Incident

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the guilty plea of JESSENIA FAJARDO, 38, for striking two pedestrians with her SUV on West End Avenue, killing 62-year-old Alfred Pocari and seriously injuring the second victim, and for injuring a third victim in a separate, unrelated vehicular incident. The defendant pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to the top counts in the indictment against her, Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second and Third Degrees. She is expected to be sentenced on March 2, 2021.

“The death of Alfred Pocari, a beloved grandfather of three, was not only tragic — it was a foreseeable and devastating consequence of the defendant’s habitually reckless driving,” said District Attorney Vance. “Our laws are fundamentally broken when it takes the death of a fellow New Yorker to get a driver with a history of reckless conduct off the road, as is demonstrated in this case. Pedestrians and cyclists in our City and State remain under constant threat of vehicular violence, which is why my Office empaneled a New York State grand jury and drafted the Vehicular Violence Accountability Act based on their recommendations, and why we strongly supported the Reckless Driver Accountability Act and speed safety camera program.”

Assistant D.A.s Matthew Bogdanos, Senior Trial Counsel of Trial Bureau 50, and Joseph Goldstein, also of Trial Bureau 50, handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, former Chief of the Trial Division and Executive Assistant D.A. Joan Illuzzi, Chief of the Trial Division. Senior Investigative Analyst, Nicole Drosinos also assisted with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD Detectives Peter Jarvis of the Highway District and David Okonek of the 1st Precinct Detective Squad, as well as officers from the 1st and 24th Precincts.


Defendant Information:



  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count