This sentencing was a long, strange trip.
The ex-garbage hauler who mowed down an Australian tourist near Central Park in 2018 quoted lyrics from a Grateful Dead song before learning his fate in a federal drug case Wednesday.
Felipe Chairez, 47, quoted lyrics from the acid rock classic “Scarlett Begonias” while telling Manhattan federal court Judge John Koeltl that he was trying beat alcoholism while awaiting sentencing in the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
“Your honor, once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right,” Chairez said, reciting lines from the song penned by noted Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
Chairez added that he’s reconnected with his religion and has been reading literature from Alcoholics Anonymous while behind bars.
“I do not recommend the path I chose. I had to come to this place of darkness to reconnect with my light,” he said.
Chairez pleaded guilty in April to a drug conspiracy charge for working as an enforcer and debt collector for an unnamed Mexican drug trafficking organization in New York. He was sentenced to six years in prison and four years supervised release Wednesday.
The former trash hauler-turned-narco henchman threatened to take a chainsaw to a New York man and rape his wife because he owed money to the organization for five kilos of cocaine, prosecutors charged.
Chairez was arrested for the scheme in 2019 — about a year after he was slapped with a $1,000 fine for fatally mowing down 23-year-old Australian tourist Madison Jane Lyden in his private garbage truck at West 67th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan.
He had downed two beers before hitting Lyden — who had swerved into his lane while trying to avoid an Uber driver who had barged into her bike lane — and later pleaded guilty to one count of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol.
Judge Koeltl on Wednesday recommended he be treated for substance abuse during his time in prison.
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