The nephew of model and actor Tyson Beckford was charged with murder after crashing a stolen truck into an MTA bus and killing the driver last month, the Manhattan district attorney announced Wednesday.
Domonic Whilby, 23, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at state Supreme Court in Manhattan, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Whilby, who is in jail on remand, is also charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, burglary and assault.
Prosecutors say Whilby, who was partying and drinking with his famous uncle on Feb. 11, took a truck parked at a loading dock of a Meatpacking District hotel for a joy ride and drove it into an M14 bus with William Pena behind the wheel at Seventh Avenue and West 14th Street around 5:20 a.m.
Pena was ejected from the bus and died at the scene. Four other people were injured in the accident.
“The tragic death of William Pena was preventable, as are so many vehicular fatalities,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
Whilby, who told detectives he doesn’t remember the accident, said the last thing he remembered was partying in Manhattan with Beckford, according to court documents and his attorney.
The attorney, Harvey Slovis, criticized the murder charge against Whilby and said he would appeal the judge’s remand order.
“It is truly a manslaughter. It is not a murder,” Slovis told amNY.
He added that Whilby is remorseful about his actions, having told detectives at the hospital to “just let me die.”
“He feels terrible,” Slovis said. “He’s the nicest kid in the world. He’s a lovely kid with no record.”
Members of the Transport Workers Union Local 100 attended Whilby’s arraignment.
“My brother William Pena came out to do a safe job for that day and he didn’t make it home to his family,” TWU recording secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray said outside the courthouse. “We will return at every court date for justice for our brother.”