Driver Indicted on More Serious Charges After DA's Investigation

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of JESSICA ALTRUZ, 24, in Manhattan Supreme Court on one count each of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting [1] in connection with the death of a pedestrian on the Upper West Side last November.

“The defendant’s reckless driving ended the remarkable life of a retired nurse who, on the day after Thanksgiving, was doing nothing more than walking home with her groceries,” said District Attorney Vance. “Importantly, New Yorkers who provided eyewitness accounts of the crash to our Vehicular Crimes Unit were instrumental in helping the Office obtain an indictment on more serious charges than at the time of the defendant’s arrest. We are extremely grateful that they came forward to provide critical evidence.”

According to documents filed in court, on November 26, 2010, at approximately 3 p.m., ALTRUZ was observed driving her white Dodge Charger westbound on West 93rd Street toward Columbus Avenue at a high rate of speed. The traffic light at the intersection of West 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue had already turned yellow before the defendant sped through it, striking a pedestrian on the west side of Columbus Avenue at West 93rd Street. ALTRUZ was observed honking her vehicle’s horn at the victim, Margaret Fisher, before striking her. The force of the impact caused Fisher to fly through the air, and she was found lying unconscious in the street, approximately 70 feet from the location where she was struck. Fisher was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s Hospital.

According to documents filed in court and surveillance video obtained by the District Attorney’s Office, the vehicle driven by the defendant did not stop following the collision. Instead, ALTRUZ’s Dodge Charger came to a stop a full avenue away, at West 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, after a motorist ahead of ALTRUZ stopped at a red light, thereby forcing the defendant’s vehicle to halt. Additional good Samaritans, including a witness who chased ALTRUZ’s vehicle down the block on foot, ensured that the defendant remained near the scene until police arrived. Multiple passengers were in ALTRUZ’s car at the time of the incident, but all fled on foot.

Assistant District Attorneys Jordan Arnold and Megan Joy are handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney William Mahoney, Chief of Trial Bureau 60; Assistant District Attorneys Jill Hoexter and John Wolfstaetter, Co-Chiefs of the Vehicular Crimes Unit; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division.

Defendant Information:

JESSICA ALTRUZ, D.O.B. 10/21/1986
Bronx, NY


Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony one count

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting, a class D felony, one count

A class C felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a class D felony is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


  1. The da is wrong. Did Jessica get a ticket for going through the red light? No so it was the vicitms fault for not waiting for the light to turn green. To keep her in jail now his wrong. I hope she wins and sues the da's office.

  2. Its sad on both parts... However jessica altruz is a young driver and is guilty of not acting quickly enough and when the situation is dissected it makes her seem like a horrible person but she's not. Sometimes situations like that happen so quickly you aren't able to make the right decision right away...I hope justice can serve both parties. Manslaughter is such a harsh charge.... I'm sure she didn't wake up tat morning with the intent to harm anyone

  3. Jessica Altruz is a person who cherishes her life and the life of others. The prosecutors job is to represent the people. They want to ensure civilians that if it were your mom or dad justice will be served. However, each case is different and should be treated as such.

    I love her and I support her through this tragic set of circumstances.

    1. Jessica only made a year in jail how is that posible? She's out in the streets again like she never kill nobody. She should be in jail for life!!!


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