DA: Rotterdam man sentenced to maximum, up to 25 years, in fatal 2020 DWI crash

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 has been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison in connection with a fatal November 2020 drunk driving crash that claimed the life of a Rotterdam woman, Schenectady County District Attorney’s officials said Wednesday.

Oscar Lopez, 32, was sentenced to a total of 8 1/3 to 25 years in state prison Tuesday, the maximum allowed for his conviction on aggravated vehicular homicide in the early morning Nov. 1, 2020 crash that killed 33-year-old mother Amanda Slaven.

In sentencing Lopez, the judge in the case, Matthew Sypniewski, told Lopez he would have given Lopez more, if that was possible, prosecutor said. The judge also urged parole not to release Lopez.

“You killed her, and not the result of any accident, you caused it,” the judge told Lopez, according to prosecutors.

Tuesday’s sentencing came after an April trial where Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney argued for a more-serious second-degree murder conviction, saying the facts of the case warranted it. Sypniewski did not agree and acquitted Lopez on the top charge.

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 0.20, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, following the crash, prosecutors said.

The charges were increased to aggravated vehicular homicide due to Lopez’ blood alcohol content, had a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated within 10 years and his license to drive had been revoked due to the prior DWI, prosecutors said.

Carney had argued 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.

Slaven was a single mother of an 8-year-old boy. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carney read a statement from Slaven’s mother, Patricia Shadick, at Tuesday’s sentencing, where she described Slaven as “independent, hard-working, and a go-getter,” according to prosecutors.

Slaven had just been promoted in her job at the state tax department.

Slaven would do anything for her son, Shadick said, according to prosecutors.

“There isn’t a night that goes by that I don’t have thoughts of the accident, and whether she knew what was happening and if she felt any pain,” Shadick said.

Slaven’s stepmother Kelly Slaven also gave remarks, as Slaven’s father John Slaven held a photo of her headstone, prosecutors said.

Kelly Slaven called Lopez a repeat offender who deserved the maximum sentence, according to prosecutors.

For himself, Lopez read a statement at the sentencing in which he said that on Nov. 1, 2020, “the unimaginable had happened, an innocent woman’s life was taken away because of my bad decisions,” according to prosecutors. He called it a “tragic accident” and apologized.

The judge responded by calling Lopez’ statement “poetic nonsense,” according to prosecutors.

“You should have stopped with ‘I’m sorry,'” Sypniewski said, according to prosecutors. “Nothing is unimaginable about what you did. It’s very imaginable and predictable.”

The judge also called the crash “probably the most horrific collision this count has ever scene, the last thing it should be characterized as is a tragic accident,” Sypniewski said, according to prosecutors.

Categories: News, Rotterdam, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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