By Alex Ginsberg
A 22-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud by staging a car accident that killed a Queens Village grandmother last month, the Queens district attorney said.
Waurd Demolaire, of 207 E. 91st St. in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, allegedly engineered a collision in Queens Village on March 22 between his 1989 Toyota and a 1985 Buick being driven by Alice Ross, the DA's office said.
Demolaire struck the 71-year-old Ross at about 4:25 p.m. while both vehicles were heading south on Commonwealth Boulevard according to DA Richard Brown. Ross lost control of her car and slammed into a tree in front of 82-51 Commonwealth Blvd.
He faces charges of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and conspiracy, the DA said. Demolaire could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Brown said the victim, “a devoted wife and grandmother,” was on her way to visit her daughter and grandchildren when the collision occurred.
The defendant was riding with two unidentified accomplices when the incident took place, the DA's office said. The two were to join Demolaire in feigning injuries and to serve as witnesses to back up the bogus insurance claims he planned to file, the DA said.
But Ross's unexpected death apparently spooked the three men, whose behavior tipped off authorities that something was amiss, a law enforcement source said.
The three men were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, complaining of serious injuries, but then hurriedly signed themselves out of the New Hyde Park hospital when they heard Ross was dead, the source said. That behavior suggested to detectives that a criminal investigation might be appropriate.
Two days later, in what Brown called an “ironic twist of fate,” Demolaire himself was hit by a car while walking on Winthrop Avenue in Brooklyn. The car that struck him was also a 1985 Buick.
Demolaire is recuperating at Kings County Hospital, where he is in police custody.
The status of Demolaire's two accomplices was not immediately clear.
According to the state Insurance Department, no-fault insurance fraud – including both staged and fictitious accidents – costs the industry $1 billion a year in New York state alone.
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.