Wall Street CEO Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Wall Street Tech CEO George Anderson, 47, was reportedly driving at a speed of around 60 miles per hour when he struck a 59-year-old pedestrian and kept right on driving. Investigators say that he returned to the scene of the accident about 20 minutes later.
Florence Cioffi was walking along Water Street in lower Manhattan shortly before 11 p.m. on January 24 when she was struck by Anderson's black Mercedes-Benz SUV. She was taken to New York Downtown Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. Witnesses say that when Anderson hit Cioffi, she was thrown up into the air and was likely killed on impact.
Anderson, founder and CEO of the technology firm Enterprise Engineering and father of 3, had been to the Rangers-Thrashers game at the Madison Square Garden and returned downtown to pick up his car. Some witnesses, including the passenger in Anderson's car, say that Cioffi was jaywalking when she was hit and thrown approximately 30 meters.
Anderson's wife has said that he and his friend were talking about the game and that he did not know he had hit a person as it was loud in the car. That statement seems somewhat odd, since his passenger says he is certain that Cioffi was jaywalking, however he maintains that he did not know that Anderson hit her.
When questioned by police, Anderson refused to take a breathalyzer test to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC). According to the police report, his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred. Since he would not submit to a breath test after his DUI arrest, Anderson was taken to the hospital for a court ordered blood test to determine his BAC. Those results have not yet been disclosed.
In New York, when a driver who is suspected of DUI refuses to take a breath test, their driver's license can be suspended for six months, even if they are not convicted of the DUI charge. Also, while refusal of a breath test may seem like a good idea at the time, prosecutors often argue in court that a sober person would not refuse a chance to prove it.
Additionally, as was the case with Anderson, a court order can be obtained so that a blood sample can be taken to determine a driver's BAC which makes refusal of the breath test an exercise in futility.
After his arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court, Anderson was released on $250,000 bail. His lawyer has said that Anderson is not guilty, and that he had a green light.
Anderson faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.
Cioffi was killed just days shy of her 60th birthday. She had been engaged to marry William Mosca and was employed as a secretary at an accounting firm. Ironically, Mosca says that Cioffi narrowly escaped being killed on September 11, 2001 because she was on a coffee break and away from her office that was located at the World Trade Center.