Alleged Drunk Driver Told His Pregnant Fiancée and Unborn Baby Died in Crash Moments Before Court

"He was overcome with emotion and grief," Adem Nikeziq's lawyer tells PEOPLE

A Staten Island, New York, man who got into an accident while allegedly drunk driving was told moments before going to court that his pregnant fiancée along with their unborn child died in the crash.

Adriana Sylmetaj died of serious traumatic injuries after being ejected from the passenger seat of a Dodge sedan when it crashed into a wooden pole on Staten Island, N.Y. around 4:45 a.m. on Jan. 28, an NYPD spokesperson told Staten Island Advance. The crash caused the unborn child to be expelled from Sylmetaj's body.

The driver of the vehicle, Adem Nikeziq, 30, was later arrested and charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, among other offenses, according to CBS News.

Just before walking into his court appearance Tuesday, Nikeziq's lawyer told him that Sylmetaj and their unborn child had died. He was seen sobbing outside the courtroom after hearing the news for the first time.

"I informed my client that his fiancée and unborn child had died in the accident only moments before appearing in court," Nikeziq's lawyer Mark Font tells PEOPLE.

"He was overcome with emotion and grief." Adrianaa Sylmetaj
Adrianaa Sylmetaj/FaceBook

"It is agreed that this was a horrific accident but not every accident rises to the level of criminality. As of today's date, the prosecutor has not supplied any evidence that alcohol was involved in this tragedy."

Nikeziq pled not guilty at Tuesday's arraignment, according to Font.

Nikeziq and Sylmetaj's names appear on a Buy Buy Baby online registry which shows they were expecting a baby girl due on April 12, 2023.

"She was excited when she learned she was going to be a mother. It was something new to her. She couldn't wait to see the baby born," Sylmetaj's brother, Al Sylmetaj, told the Daily News. "They were thinking on names but I don't think they came to any decision. ... They were planning on a baby shower."

He added, "She loved life, man, always happy, always outgoing. The family was all expecting the baby. My two kids — I have a 5-year-old and 6-year-old and to have another baby around, we were expecting it and looking forward to it."

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Nikeziq, who suffered minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital, arrived in court being pushed in a wheelchair and wearing a hospital gown, the outlet reported.

Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Agostino said that the victim's body was recovered at a nearby intersection, according to the New York Post.

"Her severed leg was found 20 feet past her body. Her unborn child, ripped from her body, was found 20 feet past her leg."

Agostino alleged that Nikeziq — who is being held on a $400,000 cash bail or $700,000 bond — had already been driving recklessly after "a night of drinking" when he crashed into a barrier.

Nikeziq's next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

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