By Staff

LAWRENCE (CBS) – The driver police say was behind the wheel in an April crash in Lawrence that killed 24-year-old Gabriela Hernandez was ordered held without bail Thursday.

Pedro Nieves, 29, of Lawrence was arrested Thursday morning by the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section.

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Prosecutors say Nieves was responsible for the April 29 crash on Winthrop Ave. in Lawrence. The impact of the collision was captured on surveillance video.

Pedro Nieves appears in court on June 17, 2021. (WBZ-TV)

A 20-year-old woman was driving a black Honda Civic when she was hit by a 2006 Acura on South Union Street.

The 20-year-old was seriously injured and taken to a Boston hospital by MedFlight.

Hernandez was a passenger in the woman’s car. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of three cars with major damage after the crash in April. (WBZ-TV)

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Investigators say Nieves had two passengers, a 31-year-old Lawrence man and a 29-year-old Methuen man. Prosecutors say video obtained by Lawrence police has him getting into the driver’s seat four minutes before the crash.

Nieves is now charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle, operating under the influence while causing serious bodily injury, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

“I am happy that the individual responsible for this senseless tragedy, where one young woman lost her life and a second young woman was seriously injured, has been brought to justice,” said Police Chief Roy Vasque. “This event could have been avoided, and is yet another example of how reckless and impaired driving has tragic consequences. My heart goes out to the families of both victims. I hope that this arrest will aid them in the healing process.”

Nieves was arraigned Thursday in Lawrence District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Hernandez’s family members were visibly upset in court while prosecutors read details from the crash.

“The aftermath of the crash was described as horrific as the Acura split the Honda into pieces, again causing the passenger to be deceased,” said Essex Assistant District Attorney Sorina Puzzo. “The video clearly revealed the Acura traveling at a high rate south on South Union Street.”

The judge ordered Nieves held without pail pending a dangerousness hearing.

“Our prayers are with the Hernandez family for their loss and with Lucidania Peña that she may recover” Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said in a statement. “Automotive fatalities are avoidable and while this arrest brings closure to a tragic situation I call on all Lawrencians to practice prudence in their driving especially as summer months arrive.”

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Members of Nieves’ family said as they left court that he was not responsible for the crash. Staff