Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Daniel Gilcreast (DOB: 01/07/87), of 35 Jacksonia Drive, North Providence, pleaded nolo contendre today before Superior Court Magistrate William J. McAtee, to charges of DUI death resulting and DUI serious bodily injury in the February 12, 2010 accident resulting in the death of Brown University freshman Avi Schaefer and injury to freshman Marika Baltscheffski.
Mr. Gilcreast was sentenced to 15 years, with eight to serve for the DUI death resulting, and 10 years, with eight to serve for the DUI serious bodily injury. The sentences are to run concurrent. Mr. Gilcreast was also sentenced to a five year loss of license upon release, mandatory DUI school and counseling, and restitution.
In the early morning hours of February 12, 2010, Avi Schaefer and Marika Baltscheffski were struck by a motor vehicle driven by Mr. Gilcreast as they were walking along Hope Street. Schaefer and Baltscheffski were transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where Schaefer was pronounced dead. Miss Baltscheffski suffered injuries including a fractured elbow and bruising.
At the scene of the accident, Mr. Gilcreast performed field sobriety tests, which he failed. Upon arrest and transportation to the Providence Police Department, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Mr. Gilcreast refused to take a breathalyzer test. Providence Police, with the assistance of the Attorney General’s office, obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample from Mr. Gilcreast. The defendant's blood alcohol level approximately four hours after the accident was determined to be .220 mg/dl, well in excess of the legal limit.
The case marks the first time that police obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample of an individual involved in a DUI death resulting since the law was changed in 2009 allowing law enforcement to pursue a warrant for blood in DUI cases resulting in serious bodily injury or death and the individual has refused to consent to the chemical test when asked by the officer. The chemical test was administered in accordance with Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines.
The chemical test administered was audio and video recorded by the Providence Police Department in accordance with the statute.
“This case underscores the reason why Rhode Island needed the ability to obtain bodily fluids in cases of DUI serious bodily injury or death resulting. The law increases public safety on our roads and highways by enhancing this Office’s ability to prosecute those who commit the crime of driving under the influence,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “It has proven to be an important tool that gives law enforcement officials an indispensable tool to protect our citizens. It sends a strong message that should deter individuals from driving under the influence, thereby keeping our roads and highways safer and reducing needless deaths and serious injuries.”
The family of Avi Schaefer, including his father Rabbi Schaffer, was present in the courtroom for the sentencing. Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato handled the case for the Attorney General’s office. Sergeant Paul Zenowicz and Patrolman Thomas Cornetta led the investigation for the Providence Police.