New Hyde Park’s Dillon gets 6-12 years for 2018 DWI

New Hyde Park’s Dillon gets 6-12 years for 2018 DWI
Keith Dillon, of New Hyde Park, was sentenced to 6-12 years in prison for a drunk driving incident in 2018 last week. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Keith Dillon, a New Hyde Park resident and Coast Guard veteran, was sentenced to 6-12 years in prison last week for a 2018 drunk driving incident that seriously injured a Nassau County Police officer.

Dillon, 34, was intoxicated and impaired by Xanax when he drove his 2014 Dodge Ram onto the center median at 70 miles per hour southbound on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale and eventually crashed into an unmarked police car, driven by Nassau Police Officer Willard Gomes early on Jan. 1, 2018, officials said. Gomes suffered serious injuries.

Cocaine and Xanax were found in Dillon’s car following the crash, officials said.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault, assault in the second degree, aggravated driving while intoxicated and tampering with physical evidence in mid-September. Dillon previously pled guilty in May 2019, officials said, but an appellate court decision that overturned the conviction led to the case being prosecuted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

“Keith Dillon made the selfish choice to drive both drunk and impaired by Xanax early on New Year’s Day 2018 and NCPD Officer Willard Gomes continues to pay the price for Dillon’s reckless actions,” Nassau DA Anne Donnelly said in a statement. “Driving at a speed of 70 miles per hour, Keith Dillon crashed his vehicle head-on into an unmarked police car operated by Officer Gomes, who, ironically, was working DWI enforcement. Officer Gomes suffered life-altering injuries, will never be able to go back to active police work and is still on the path to recovery.”

The collision pushed the police car about 50 feet backward and rotated it 180 degrees, officials said. His car flipped over and came to a stop about 30 to 40 feet away from Gomes’ car.

Gomes suffered a brain bleed, broken elbow and leg fractures which required multiple surgeries to repair. Today, he walks with a permanent limp and cannot fully bend his left elbow or touch his face with his left hand. 

Gomes will require additional surgeries to regain mobility in his left arm. Dillon suffered a fractured ankle in the crash. Newsday reported that Gomes told reporters at the sentencing he felt “sorry” for Dillon and said he was willing to forgive him for the accident.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder lauded Gomes’ willingness to forgive Dillon and praised his character, according to Newsday.

“There’s not a better man that I’ve ever met than Will Gomes,” Ryder told Newsday. “This individual here and his family went through hell, and Will can still forgive. That says a lot for the man.”

Officials did not disclose when Dillon’s sentencing would begin. 

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