Two twenty-year-old New York men find themselves in an eerily similar situation this month, after allegedly violating New York’s DWI laws, and allegedly causing lethal accidents. The tragedies illustrate the dangers of drinking and driving that all occupants of a vehicle face, and the fact that a surviving driver may confront more than just DWI charges.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Wallace Hedgepeth, a 20-year-old from western New York, was arraigned last Thursday, and charged with driving while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter and unlicensed operation of a vehicle. The tragic accident that led to Mr. Hedgepeth’s arrest and charges occurred in late June. Mr. Hedgpeth was driving with his friend, 21-year-old Jireh Williams in the back seat. Mr. Hedgpeth was allegedly speeding and hit a guardrail, which caused Mr. Williams to fly out of the back seat of the vehicle, and he died. So far, Mr. Hedgepeth has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The second story this week mirrors Mr. Hedgepeth and Mr. Williams’ fates. reports that 20-year-old Robert Mooney of the Village of Kenmore, New York, also lost control of his vehicle and his passenger, 20-year-old Joseph Cavalleri, was killed as a result. The accident occurred last Friday evening, in the Town of Brant. According to police, Mr. Mooney lost control of his vehicle and caused it to flip over numerous times. During the accident, Mr. Cavalleri was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. Mr. Mooney emerged from the accident alive, but is currently at Erie County Medical Center in stable condition. Mr. Mooney was arrested for DWI and vehicular manslaughter, like Mr. Hedgepeth.

Vehicular manslaughter is a complex legal term that can be a source of confusion for many New York drivers. According to, manslaughter itself is the act of causing death to another human, in a way that is less than intentional, and therefore less culpable than the act of murder. Manslaughter is a misdemeanor offense, rather than a felony. Vehicular manslaughter is a type of misdemeanor offense in cases where the law holds a person responsible for the death of another person due to criminal negligence or the commission of traffic violations. This is often the offense that is applied when a driver who is under the influence has caused the death of either another driver or a passenger.

A vehicular manslaughter conviction may mean jail time, heavy penalties, fines and fees, license revocation, and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on a driver’s vehicle. If you have been charged with violating DWI laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced DWI attorney. An experienced DWI attorney can review your case and the charges against you, and can strategize the best defense for your individual case. Call the experienced DWI attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today at 1-866-792-7800 for a confidential consultation.

The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.