Rotterdam man facing up to 25 years in fatal 2020 DWI case

Paramedics tend to Oscar Lopez trapped in his pickup truck after striking Amanda Slaven's vehicle on Hamburg Street in Rotterdam early Nov. 1, 2020. Inset: Oscar Lopez
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Paramedics tend to Oscar Lopez trapped in his pickup truck after striking Amanda Slaven's vehicle on Hamburg Street in Rotterdam early Nov. 1, 2020. Inset: Oscar Lopez

SCHENECTADY — A Rotterdam man Tuesday was acquitted of murder for his role in a fatal head-on crash along Hamburg Street in 2020, but still faces up to 25 years in state prison after he was found guilty on seven other charges in the case.  

Oscar Lopez, 31, was found not guilty of second degree murder with depraved indifference by Schenectady County Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski, but was convicted on seven other charges, including three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, for his role in the Nov. 1, 2020 crash that killed 33-year-old Amanda Slaven of Rotterdam.

Lopez was also convicted of one count each of aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving with ability impaired by drugs and alcohol and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

Sypniewski presided over the two-week trial after Lopez waived his right to a jury trial last month, according to a news release from the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office.  

“By his guilty verdicts, Judge Sypniewski did find that Mr. Lopez caused the death of Amanda Slaven while engaged in reckless driving and impaired by alcohol and drugs,” the release reads.

District Attorney Robert Carney argued that Lopez acted recklessly and with utter indifference for human life when he ignored numerous warnings not to get behind the wheel of his Chevrolet Silverado after attending a pair of Halloween parties in Albany where he consumed alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. 

Lopez had a suspended license at the time of the crash due to a prior DWI conviction in Albany County. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.19%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%, following the crash, according to the release. 

Carney argued that Lopez knew exactly what he was doing when he got behind the wheel and proceeded to travel down Hamburg Street at more than 90 mph, eventually crashing head-on into Slaven, who had just turned onto Hamburg Street from Chism Street shortly after midnight. 

Lopez took no action to prevent the crash and actually sped up from 93 to 94 mph, according to Carney. 

But Adam Eggleston, an attorney for Lopez, argued his client was too impaired with drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash to act with depraved indifference, and that Lopez did in fact take steps to avoid the crash. 

Sypnewski did not explain his not guilty verdict for the top murder charge, which would have carried a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, according to the release.

Lopez faces between 8 ⅓ to 25 years in prison for the three charges of aggravated vehicular homicide. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 31.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

Daily Gazette: All NewsEverything Rotterdam

Categories: News, Rotterdam, Schenectady County

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