Attorney: 2nd SSP suspect was 'good Samaritan'
A second man faced a judge for allegedly helping a driver flee the scene of a fiery crash on the Southern State Parkway that killed two children and their father.
Demetri Stewart, 23, of Jamaica, Queens, was arrested Monday. He was arraigned Tuesday in Central Islip. He faces charges of leaving the scene of an accident, hindering prosecution and criminal facilitation. He pleaded not guilty in court.
Investigators say Stewart, who had been driving behind his friend at the time of the crash, picked up 24-year-old O'Niel Sharpe Jr., also of Queens, after an allegedly drunken Sharpe rear-ended a family's vehicle on the Southern State Parkway near Exit 41 early Sunday morning.
Ancio Ostane, a 37-year-old math teacher was killed. His 8-year-old son, Andy, and his 4-year-old daughter, Sephora, also died in the crash.
Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane, wife and mother to the deceased victims, was able to escape the car and survived the crash. She said she tried to open the car door to rescue her children, but it was locked.
In court, the prosecutor said both men saw the Ostanes' vehicle engulfed in flames and heard their screams, but the men allegedly just drove away.
But Stewart's attorney said his client is innocent, and the attorney described Stewart as a "good Samaritan" for helping his friend.
Stewart is being held on $100,000 bail. He is due back in court Friday.
Sharpe, who was arrested in Rockville Centre about four hours after the crash, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday to charges of DWI and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He is being held on $250,000 bail.
Bouaz-Ostane returned to the scene of the crash Tuesday to pray. "All three - they're together and I'm left alone," she said. "I'm just going to be blown by the wind. I don't have a destination."
Funeral services are planned for 9 a.m. Saturday at St. Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church on Sterling Place in Brooklyn.