December 6th marks the 10th anniversary of the day Maspeth lost one of its brightest lights. On December 6, 2002, Daniela D’Angelo was returning home from Christ the King H.S. when tragically she was struck and killed by a car driven by a career criminal. The driver, Dennis Fiechter, had his license suspended 28 times prior and had been arrested on a host of other charges ranging from burglary and attempted robbery. He was a menace to society and should have been in jail long before he took the life of young Daniela. Below is a NY Post article from Jan. 5, 2006 when Fiechter was sentenced to prison:
FURY AT 'SORRY' KILLER; DRIVER FROM HELL JAILED
New York Post January 5, 2006
by Alex Ginsberg
The family of a Queens honors student run down and killed by a career criminal whose license had been suspended 28 times lashed out at the driver yesterday as he was sentenced to prison.
Daniela D'Angelo was only 17 and halfway through her senior year at Christ the King HS in Queens when her life was cut short Dec. 6, 2002 by an out-of-control Mazda driven by Dennis Fiechter.
“My family and I suffer every single day of our lives and it will never get easier,” said tearful older sister Lisa Popa.
D'Angelo was walking along 69th Street in Maspeth, headed home from school, when Fiechter lost control of his Mazda, jumped the curb and slammed into her.
He later claimed that he'd suffered a seizure behind the wheel. But law enforcement sources said he went into a seizure at Elmhurst Hospital following the accident.
Law enforcement sources said the 28 suspensions were for various infractions, including driving without insurance.
Fiechter, 30, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated unlicensed operation of a car, in exchange for the 1 1/3- to 4-year sentence he got yesterday.
The term will run consecutive to a two- to four-year attempted robbery sentence, also in Queens, but concurrently with a 14-year New Jersey sentence for burglary. He also did time in the 1990s for stolen property.
Yesterday, Fiechter offered his apologies to the dead teen's tearful family.
“I know this really doesn't mean much to you, but I'm really sorry for what I did,” he said. “I think about it every day. I'm so sorry. Trust me, I'm so sorry I can't even express it.”
Popa said her sister was a star pupil – in the top five of her class.
“Every night my mother refuses to go to sleep without watching a video of Daniela because she says she can't sleep without hearing her voice and laughter,” said Popa. “My dad passes the cemetery every single night to say goodnight to her.”