The 23-year-old daredevil driver who killed two of his passengers and critically injured a third as he did doughnuts at a Bronx street corner hit the brakes just one second before the fatal crash into a parked Kenworth fuel truck, prosecutors said Friday.
Enrique Lopez was showboating in front of a group of car enthusiasts, spinning in tight circles at 70 mph in his Chrysler 300 early Sunday morning when the car slid sideways and crashed into the truck, veri police recovered from the mangled car revealed.
Lopez was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and several other offenses, including reckless endangerment. A Bronx Criminal Court judge ordered him held on $150,000 bail during a brief arraignment proceeding Friday.
The crash occurred near Bryant and Viele Aves. in Hunts Point, a spot where “Fast and Furious” fans go to show off their stunt driving skills.
Lopez’s Chrysler 300 — a massive U-Haul sticker wrapped around the car’s body — had a stolen Dodge Charger motor under the hood and three passengers: 21-year-old Gilvante “Gio” Roberson, 15-year-old Sabrina Villagomez and 17-year-old Aaliyah Torres, seated inside, police and prosecutors said.
Following the crash, Lopez and his three passengers were rushed to area hospitals, but Roberson and Villagomez didn’t survive.
Torres survived the crash but remained in St. Barnabas Hospital on Friday with a fractured spine, pelvis, brain bleed and liver damage, prosecutors said. She was put in a medically induced coma as she mended.
“She is recovering slowly,” her aunt said Monday.
Lopez wasn’t seriously hurt and was taken to Harlem Hospital. He was criminally charged and arraigned after he was discharged from the hospital Thursday.
“They were having a takeover car meet where they take over the block and lock the block up and do doughnuts and stuff,” said an employee of the fuel company that owns the struck truck, who gave his name only as Chad, 28. “The guy was going about 100 mph, it was very fast. Hit a bump. The car skid right into the truck.”
Roberson’s mother on Monday said her deceased son loved car stunts and wouldn’t want Lopez to be punished.
“Giovante was a very loving, caring person, so at that moment, he probably wouldn’t even find his friend at fault, even though he could have been at fault,” said the mother, Sabrina Roberson, 44. “I just know my son. He wouldn’t have wanted none of this for none of the people involved.”
“I feel so bad for all the families involved because I didn’t just lose my son,” the mother added. “Somebody else lost their daughter. The guy that was driving lost his freedom, possibly.”
The crash was so horrific, she said she suspected the worst right away.
Shortly after the crash, she said she was on FaceTime with someone at the scene who showed her the mangled car.
“She said they pulled him out, and he was unresponsive,” the mother said through tears. “When she showed me the car, I already knew he was gone.”
Roberson spent the hours before the crash documenting the car meet and posting clips of the dangerous stunts on his Instagram page, which is flooded with drivers doing doughnuts and other tricks.
In one of the posts, cars take over a Queens street and burn rubber as a crowd of people cheer the drivers on from the side of the road.
The last post made to the Instagram account was right around the time of the crash.
Lopez, who lives in Far Rockaway, was arrested Jan. 16 for allegedly stealing a 2023 Acura in Middle Village.
He fled when police tried to pull him over, but officers caught up with him and arrested him, police said. In his possession were screwdrivers and a number of key fobs, which car thieves often hack to gain easy access to vehicles, police said.
Lopez was ordered released without bail at the arraignment, court records show.
On June 6, he was charged with criminal possession of stolen property after he was found driving a car with a back seat filled with stolen electric scooter parts.
The parts were recovered by the owner of the scooter, who tracked Lopez down with the help of an Apple air tag on the stolen vehicle.
When questioned, he told the owner of the stolen scooter that he had “bought the parts from a friend in the Bronx,” according to court papers.
Lopez pleaded guilty to the stolen property charge, but didn’t receive any jail time, court records show.