A former New Jersey EMT was sentenced Friday to 10 years in state prison for driving drunk with his two daughters in his car last year and killing one when he crashed, authorities said.
Marcelo Rizzo, 38, of Elizabeth, had pleaded guilty in August to driving while intoxicated, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and second-degree vehicular homicide. Burlington County Superior Court Judge Gerard H. Breland sentenced him for the death of 9-year-old Madelynn.
"This tragedy was completely preventable, and therefore, inexcusable,” Burlington County prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a statement. "Between ridesharing services, traditional taxis, designated drivers, or, most elementally, refraining from drinking before having to drive somewhere, the defendant had many options to get his family home safely. Instead, he chose to get behind the wheel, and as a result, one of his children was killed.”
Rizzo had multiple drinks in Camden County on Nov. 25 before he got into his car with Madelynn and her 8-year-old sister, Coffina said. Around 6 p.m., he drove in and out of traffic on northbound Interstate 295 and hit a car. His Ford Focus slid off the road into the right shoulder, authorities said, and Madelynn was thrown from the car into a wooded area. Her sister stayed in the car but was injured, Coffina said.
Rizzo’s blood alcohol content was 0.16, authorities said, or two times the allowable limit. He has since been stripped of his title as an EMT.