New York Woman Delivering Newspapers Dies in Fatal Crash

November 6, 2014

An off-duty firefighter drunkenly drove the wrong way down a one-way suburban avenue, slammed into another car and killed a woman delivering newspapers early Monday, authorities said.

White Plains firefighter Erik Refvik was arrested on criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated charges after the 4:30 a.m. wreck, White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said.

Refvik was hospitalized with bruises and awaiting arraignment, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he has a lawyer. An operational phone number for him couldn’t immediately be found, and an email wasn’t immediately returned.

Refvik, 34, has been with White Plains’ fire department for four years.

His blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit when his SUV hit the other car, propelling it 20 feet and leaving it so damaged that rescuers had to cut the occupants out, Chong said.

“It’s a very bad crash,” he said by phone.

Passenger Reyda LaMadrid, 47, died at the scene. Driver Edgar Lopez, 49, was hospitalized with injuries described as serious but unlikely to be fatal.

Investigators will work to determine what Refvik was doing in the hours before the wreck, and their findings could affect the ultimate charges against him, Chong said.

The Journal News said LaMadrid was an independent contractor for its delivery firm, Publisher’s Circulation Fulfillment.

She and Lopez were a couple, and he often helped with her newspaper route, Chuck Farrell, an assistant distribution manager at Publisher’s Circulation Fulfillment, told the Journal News.

“She was a quiet, nice woman,” he said.

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