Man charged in Rotterdam DWI murder case ignored warnings, drove in ‘despondent rage’ before crash, DA says

Paramedics tend to Oscar Lopez trapped in his pickup truck after striking Amanda Slaven's vehicle on Hamburg Street early Nov. 1. Inset: Oscar Lopez

Paramedics tend to Oscar Lopez trapped in his pickup truck after striking Amanda Slaven's vehicle on Hamburg Street early Nov. 1. Inset: Oscar Lopez

ROTTERDAM –- Oscar Lopez ignored warnings he was too intoxicated to drive, argued with his girlfriend, then became despondent over a possible breakup before speeding down Hamburg Street at more than 90 mph early Nov. 1 and slamming into a Rotterdam mother’s car, killing her, prosecutors allege in a recent court filing.

Lopez, 31, of First Avenue, Rotterdam, was indicted in December on second-degree murder and other charges in the death of Amanda Slaven, 33, killed as authorities say Lopez’ truck slammed into her vehicle as she turned onto Hamburg Street just after midnight that morning.

Prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham recently gave a glimpse of the case against Lopez in a pre-trial filing, including why prosecutors believe the facts of the case against Lopez support the more serious charge of second-degree “depraved indifference” murder, over other charges, including the original charge filed against him, vehicular manslaughter.

A court filing outlines the allegations and the series of events that prosecutors contend led up to the crash and Slaven’s death.

The investigation determined Lopez’ speed at between 93 and 94 mph and that he was driving on the wrong side of the road, Tremante-Pelham wrote in response to a defense filing. Lopez lived in the area and was familiar with the road where the speed limit is 35 mph, she noted.

Lopez’ blood alcohol content was measured at 0.19 percent, twice the legal limit, she wrote. The blood test also showed his blood contained cocaine and marijuana.

Lopez had been warned by multiple people not to drive and he ignored those warnings, she wrote. He then drove home from a party in Albany “in a highly reckless manner.” Lopez’ “girlfriend had fled the vehicle with their child” and that Lopez assaulted her and abandoned her on the road, the filing reads.

Lopez then went home, “where he expressed the thought that he had ruined his life, that he would never get his girlfriend back, and that he drove away in a despondent rage minutes before killing Amanda Slaven.”

Lopez was indicted on the murder charge on the theory that he acted with the required depraved indifference to human life to support it, Tremante-Pelham wrote. She said “this defendant was intent on driving while his license was revoked, however he wanted to, no matter whom he imperiled, with complete indifference to the inevitable consequences.”

Lopez’ driver’s license was revoked due to a previous DWI conviction from 10 months earlier, according to an officer’s report.

The report also noted that a street camera at Hamburg and Chism streets captured the collision, which happened at that intersection. The force of the crash, however, left both vehicles a block away from the initial impact site, at Hamburg Street and Glengary Road.

Lopez was airlifted to Albany Medical Center for treatment of injuries he suffered in the crash. Slaven died at the scene.

Slaven was a native of Greene County who moved to Rotterdam, her obituary read. She worked for the state Department of Taxation and Finance in Latham. She was the mother to one son.

Lopez is represented by attorney Adam Eggleston. Eggleston Tuesday indicated the defense is aware of the serious allegations, but he otherwise declined to comment. Lopez remained held Tuesday without bail.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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