No bail for driver deemed a danger after Lawrence fatal crash

·2 min read

Sep. 20—SALEM, Mass. — A Lawrence man charged after a high-speed, fatal crash at South Union Street and Winthrop Avenue this spring will remain held without bail, authorities said.

Pedro Nieves, 29, was deemed a danger following a court hearing Friday and ordered to remain held without bail by Superior Court Judge Thomas Dreschler, according to court records.

Nieves was described as being drunk and in "demon mode" when he struck an oncoming car and killed Gabriela Hernandez, 24, at the intersection in the early morning hours of April 29.

Hernandez was the mother of two young children.

Nieves was indicted by the Essex County grand jury and charged with manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, operating under the influence of drugs causing serious injury, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, according to court papers.

Nieves has been held without bail since his initial arraignment in Lawrence District Court.

Due to his indictment, he faced arraignment again in Salem Superior Court, where the penalties he faces if convicted will be more severe.

According to investigators, Nieves was drunk when he blasted his Acura RL through a red light before striking a Honda Civic at more than 100 mph and ripping the small car in half at South Union Street and Winthrop Avenue.

The impact of the crash ejected and killed Hernandez, police said.

Firefighters used two sets of the Jaws of Life hydraulic tools to extract trapped people from both the Honda and the Acura.

The Honda driver, a 20-year-old Lawrence woman, was trapped in the driver's seat. Once freed, she was later Medflighted to a Boston hospital.

Her passenger, Hernandez, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Nieves and his two passengers, Brandon Wiggins, 29, of Methuen, and Jonathan Vega, 21, of Lawrence, were also hurt, police said.

Moments after the crash, police were able to access video taken from city-owned cameras at the scene. The footage "clearly revealed, the Acura traveling at a very high rate of speed, south on South Union Street, run the red light and crash into the passenger side of the Honda, traveling east on Winthrop Avenue, in the intersection," Lawrence police Sgt. Michael Simard, a lead crash investigator, wrote in his report.

Nearly two months after Hernandez's death, Nieves was arrested June 17.

Testing indicated Nieves' blood alcohol content was .17, which is twice the legal limit, according to court papers.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.

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