The drunk driver who fatally struck a 24-year-old woman on East 4th and Bowery--and kept driving--last year has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter. Twenty-one-year-old Tenzing Bhutia, a senior at Baruch, will serve a two-year sentence starting in June for killing Julia Thomson (pictured) with his father's Mercedes last October.
Thomson, a Scottish transplant who was living in the East Village, had been showing a friend the town when she was hit around 4 a.m. Witnesses believe the car was going at least 50 MPH; three hours later, police found Bhutia and the damaged car in Queens, his blood alcohol level was 0.087, just over the legal limit of 0.08.
Bhutia admitted he knew he hit something yet continued on and was charged with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident in addition to vehicular manslaughter. The judge is allowing Bhutia to graduate before heading to jail.
Thomson's parents, who live in Edinburgh and have previously said how much their daughter loved New York, hoped Bhutia would be sentenced to three years. They gave a statement, "Punishment... should reflect the initial stupidity of taking the family car on a drinking spree and driving at a totally irresponsible speed...Worst of all, [was Bhutia's] callous attempt to get away when he knew perfectly well he had hit someone." The Thomsons have set up a fund for a community project in Brazil to remember her, The Julia Thomson Memorial Fund.