The unlicensed driver accused of drunkenly barreling through a group of cyclists in Brooklyn says he hopes the woman he left in a coma can forgive him.
Abel Antonio Pina-Morocho pleaded for sympathy Wednesday during an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Daily News at the Brooklyn Detention Complex, where he’s being held on $ 250,000 bail.
“When I get out I’ll tell them that I am so sorry,” Pina-Morocho said between sobs.
The 39-year-old claims a tiff with his girlfriend led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol before getting behind the wheel on Sunday morning.
Prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol level of .266 — over three times the legal limit — when he slammed his Dodge Caravan into a group of bike riders waiting at a red light in Borough Park, injuring five people.
One of the cyclists, 55-year-old Nancy Pease, was severely injured and left in a coma after being pinned under the minivan.
Pease and the others were riding in the NYC Century Bike Tour.
The annual ride is organized by Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Forgive me. I am so sorry,” Pina-Morocho repeated, tears welling in his bloodshot eyes.
In the moments after the violent crash, the disheveled driver told detectives that he’d been drinking, had no license and was looking for a parking space.
A Coors Light can was found in his van.
He told The News Wednesday that he had a few beers and one margarita after “fighting with my girlfriend.”
The Ecuadorian construction worker’s glum demeanor as he sought forgiveness and sat in jail scrubs was a far cry from his antics immediately after the crash.
On Sunday morning, as Pease was clinging to life and being rushed to Maimonides Medical Center, Pina-Morocho sat in the back of a police car, his eyes half-closed, sticking his tongue out at a News photographer.
Pina-Morocho is facing charges of vehicular assault, drunken driving and driving without a license.
The undocumented immigrant said his experience behind bars has been sobering and led to fears he could be deported if convicted. He’s lived in the U.S. for 18 years.
“I like it here,” he said.