Broward County Woman Faces Heavy Prison Time for Drunken Hit and Run

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

A Coral Springs resident who was originally from upstate New York was killed while riding his motorcycle when he was involved in an accident with an alleged drunk driver.  30-year-old Benjamin Pirofsky was riding his motorcycle on North Federal Highway in Broward County when Nadia Verdoni made a left turn into his path with her SUV.  Pirofsky died at the scene and Verdoni fled, followed by a witness to the accident.  The witness to the accident snapped a picture of Verdoni’s license plate with his phone and spoke to police.  Police tracked down Verdoni shortly after the accident at her home nearby where she had attempted to cover the damage to he vehicle with a tarp.  She was arrested for a number of crimes including DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident where there was a death and tampering with evidence. 

For her involvement in this accident, Verdoni is facing a long prison sentence because she is being charged with three felonies.  The most serious, leaving the scene of an accident where there is a death, is a first-degree felony that carries a maximum charge of 30 years in prisonThe DUI manslaughter charge is a second-degree felony that could carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prisonThe tampering with evidence charge is also a felony, this time a third degree felony for which she could be sentenced to an additional 5 years in prison.

However, there are some weaknesses to the case against Verdoni, especially when it comes to the alcohol related aspects of her alleged crimes.  While this may not be enough to totally eliminate the possibility of jail time for her, it is enough to possibly get rid of the charges of DUI manslaughter against her.  The main problem is even though police smelled alcohol on he breath after the accident, this was at her home some time after the accident.  There is no way to prove any alcohol in her system was in her system at the time of the accident.  It is just as likely that she drank after she got home.  If she drank after she got home, she would have also had a BAC showing she was drunk and alcohol on her breath, even if it did not exist at the time of the accident.

It is up to the prosecution in this case to prove without a reasonable doubt that Verdoni was drunk while she was driving and hit Pirofsky, not that she was drunk when police found her.  By having a significant period of time between the accident and when Verdoni was found by police, reasonable doubt has been established, at least when it comes to the DUI manslaughter charge.

This does little with the most serious charge that Verdoni is facing however, leaving the scene of an accident involving a death.  That charge is a first-degree felony regardless of whether she was drunk or not.  While there could be some changes to the mandatory minimum sentence she faces for this charge if drunkenness cannot be proven, the fact remains that it is a first-degree felony for which she could face a very long sentence.