A New Hyde Park man and Coast Guard veteran Keith Dillon will receive the same plea deal from Nassau County prosecutors as he did from a Brooklyn appellate court for a drunk driving incident 3 1/2 years ago, according to multiple reports.
Dillon, 32, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular assault, assault and drunken driving in a plea bargain resulting in a sentence of up to 12 years in prison. Dillon was allegedly intoxicated and impaired by Xanax when he drove his 2014 Dodge Ram onto the center median 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.
Though the plea bargain called for Dillon to face six to 12 years in prison, a ruling from a Brooklyn appellate court in June reversed the conviction and threw out the plea in its entirety before the case was sent back to the Nassau court system, according to court documents.
Court officials said in the June 9 notice that the State Supreme Court failed to notify Dillon that he would be sentenced to a period of post-release supervision upon his conviction of second-degree assault at the time of his guilty plea.
“Under the circumstances, the defendant’s plea of guilty was not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent, and therefore, must be vacated,” the court document said.
Prosecutor Stefanie Palma told Newsday that the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office would withdraw the plea offer if Dillon did not take an identical plea bargain at the next court date, scheduled for Aug. 23. Palma told Newsday that Dillon faces five to 15 years on the aggravated vehicular assault charge along with seven years on the second-degree assault charge if convicted.
According to court records, Dillon was previously represented by attorney Marc Gann, but due to Dillon’s inability to pay for a private attorney and a conflict of interest for Gann to continue representing Dillon, he was appointed a new attorney, Luigi Vigliotti. Efforts to reach Vigliotti for comment were unavailing.
On the night of the incident, officials said, Dillon struck Gomes head-on while driving on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale just before 2:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The collision pushed the police car driven by Gomes about 50 feet backward and rotated it 180-degrees, according to the district attorney’s office.
Gomes, who was on DWI patrol at the time of the crash, suffered multiple injuries, including a brain bleed, broken elbow, and leg fractures, which required multiple surgeries to repair, officials said. Gomes has remained on medical leave since the incident, according to officials.
Dillon apologized to Gomes during his sentencing in 2019, expressing his regret for “selfish, reckless actions”, according to Newsday.