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Keith Dillon sentenced for 2nd time in 2018 drunk driving crash that left Nassau County officer with permanent injuries

Driver sentenced again in DWI crash that permanently injured officer
Driver sentenced again in DWI crash that permanently injured officer 02:18

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- A Nassau County police officer nearly killed by an admitted drunk driver almost five years ago finally got justice Wednesday.

The driver was sentenced for a second time after the first conviction was overturned on appeal.

Officer Willard Gomes greeted with smiles, even though returning to court three years after this case was closed has caused more pain. He may never regain full mobility but has now gained long-awaited justice.

"It's unfortunate that I have to do this again, but the circumstances are the same. My injuries are the same," he said.

Gomes was on New Year's Eve DWI patrol in Greenvale when he became a victim himself.

Prosecutors say driver Keith Dillon stormed off from a family argument and drove drunk, three times above the legal limit. He barreled down Glen Cove Road, crashing head-on into the officer's unmarked car.

"The evidence showed he never even stepped on the brake. Officer Gomes has permanent injuries because of the reckless disregard and acts of Keith Dillon," Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly said.

Dillon apologized through sobs in 2019 but then appealed his six-to-twelve year sentence. A court overturned the case on a technicality.

READ MORE (9/6/2019): Drunk Driver Who Left Long Island Police Officer With Crippling Injuries Gets 6-12 Years In Prison

"He's very remorseful. The real story is he took his plea, he goes upstate and then he starts to see other cases like his, vehicular cases, where he's seeing people get a sentence of three to nine," defense attorney Greg Madey said.

But the DA offered Dillon the same plea deal -- six to twelve years and added a year to his post-release supervision.

"I don't hold it against him that he was, I guess, trying to get lesser of a sentence," Gomes said.

But this time, Gomes made a sad admission.

"I got the job of a lifetime, and I loved every day that I put on that uniform and I went out to serve the community of Nassau County, and it's heart-breaking that I will not be able to do that anymore," he said.

The case is a lesson to all drivers.

"Getting an Uber, getting a cab is one swipe away on your cell phone. There is no excuse for drinking and driving," Donnelly said.

"You can change your life. You can change someone else's life," Gomes said.

Prosecutors say they hope this is the last time Dillon is sentenced, to give Officer Gomes the closure he deserves.

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