Motorist Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Manslaughter In Death Of Grand Central Parkway Worker
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on January 24 that a 26-year-old Queens man has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the death of a 63-year-old highway worker killed this past July on the Grand Central Parkway.
Brown said, “The defendant has admitted that his violent actions were responsible for the untimely death of a hardworking family man. As such, the prison term and conditions to be imposed – which are the maximum under the law – are more than justified.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Munshi Abdullah, 26, of 164-24 86th Road in Jamaica, Queens. Abdullah, who has been held in jail in lieu of $350,000 bail since his arraignment on July 11, 2012, pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt, who set a sentencing date of March 12, 2013, and indicated that she would sentence him to a term of two and one-third years to seven years in prison and, following his release from state prison, to a three-year conditional discharge, during which he will be required to install an ignition interlock device at his own expense in any vehicle that he owns or operates for a period of five years. District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, Abdullah was driving a 2002 Audi A6 at an unsafe speed westbound in the left lane of the Grand Central Parkway near Jewel Avenue on the morning of July 10, 2012. Just ahead of him a large construction vehicle was parked in the left lane with its arrow light flashing, indicating that the left lane was closed and directing motorists to the center lane. Directly behind the construction vehicle, Frank Avino, 63, of Long Island, was placing orange traffic cones in the left lane when Abdullah’s Audi struck him, causing Avino to hit the Audi’s windshield and then fly into the air and land on top of the construction vehicle. Avino, who worked
as an electrician for Welsbach Electric Corp., of College Point, Queens, was pronounced dead at the scene. Based on skid marks at the scene it was determined that the minimum speed of the Audi was 58 miles per hour at the time of the collision and that the posted speed limit is 50 miles per hour.
Police responding to the scene observed that the Audi had front end damage and a shattered
windshield and that Abdullah had bloodshot watery eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
Abdullah was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he consented to have his blood drawn and which resulted in a blood alcohol content reading of .18 percent – above the legal limit of .08 percent in New York.
Upon request of police officers Abdullah was unable to produce a valid New York State
driver’s license and in a statement to police he admitted to drinking from 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. that morning and that he was driving the Audi because his friends were too drunk to drive.
The investigation was conducted by officers assigned to the New York City Police
Department’s Highway Unit #3.
Assistant District Attorney John Kosinski, Chief of District Attorney Brown’s Vehicular
Homicide Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Kerona K. Samuels, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Investigations Bureau, prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Peter T. Reese, Bureau Chief, and Peter J. McCormack III and Richard B. Schaeffer, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Charles A. Testagrossa and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Major Crimes Daniel A. Saunders.