A 23-year-old man accused of drunkenly stealing a box truck in 2014 and causing a crash that killed an MTA bus driver refused a plea deal that would have put him behind bars for more than a decade on Wednesday.
Dominic Whilby turned down prosecutors' plea agreement that would have had him admit to manslaughter in the death of bus driver William Pena. The case is now expected to go to trial, something the victim's family had hoped to avoid.
"We actually want this to be over so we can continue with our lives," said Alex Pena, the victim's brother.
"At this point, we've been here over two years," said Nancy Rodriguez, William Pena's wife. "We want this to come to an end."
Whilby would have gone to prison for 14 to 24 years under the deal, which the judge hearing the case Wednesday called a "reasonable offer."
It's the second time that Whilby and his defense team have turned down a plea deal in the case. In March, they rejected a similar arrangement that would have put him behind bars for 14 to 28 years.
Whilby is accused of stealing a truck from a business on West 16th Street on Feb. 12, 2014, and driving it down Seventh Avenue, where he crashed into the M14 bus that was going east on West 14th Street.
The force of the crash sent the bus and truck careening into scaffolding on the southeast corner of the intersection. Pena was pronounced dead not long after the collision.
A passenger on the bus was also injured, along with a person riding a scooter who was hit by the truck before it slammed into the bus, police said.
Whilby is due back in court on June 9.
Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney for the victim's family, said, "His family and his family from the union will be here every day until justice is achieved."
Former MTA colleagues of Pena have been showing up to every court hearing.