Trial begins for Rockville Centre man accused in fatal DWI
Opening statements were heard Tuesday in the trial of a man accused in a 2015 DWI crash that killed three family members on the Southern State Parkway.
Prosecutors say O'Niel Sharpe Jr., of Rockville Centre, was drunk and driving at high speeds when he slammed into the back of a car carrying the Ostane family from Queens.
The crash killed Ancio Ostane, his 8-year-old son and his 4-year-old daughter. The children's mother survived the crash.
Authorities say Sharpe then abandoned his car and was picked up by a friend who drove him to Rockville Centre, where he was arrested four hours later.
He was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors say Sharpe had just left a party when the crash occurred. Prosecutors intend to show the jury a video that they say shows Sharpe throwing a bottle of tequila into the woods.
The defense claims Sharpe was not intoxicated and only left the scene to take his cousin and friend to the hospital after they were hurt in the crash.
Jurors also heard from the Westbury couple who called 911 right after the crash. They both said that the driver was going at least 90 mph.
If convicted of the top charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, Sharpe will face up to 25 years in prison.