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Family sues suspected DWI driver who killed son

Attorney Sanford Rubenstein (l.) and Brendan Ogle, father of the 16−year−old boy killed by an alleged drunk driver in Middle Village, discuss their civil suit at Rubenstein’s Brooklyn office. Photo by Jeremy Walsh
By Jeremy Walsh

Nearly three months after the death of their teenage son at the hands of a suspected drunk driver in a stolen car, the parents of Robert Ogle are suing the alleged driver, the car’s owner and the parents of the teenager whose birthday party Robert was attending.

“Let this be an example to the public: Don’t let your car sit unattended with the motor running and don’t serve alcohol to minors,” said Sanford Rubenstein, attorney for Brendan and Mei Ogle. He filed the suit seeking unspecified damages in Queens Supreme Court Monday.

The suit alleges that in addition to 27−year−old Kenneth Guyear, who allegedly stole the idling Kia from in front of a bodega in Middle Village, car owner David Jaber and party hosts Sing−Chau Fung and Yuk Fung Lai Fung are liable for the deaths of Robert, 16, and his friend, Alex Paul, 20, of Brooklyn.

The two friends were crossing the road at 80th Street and 62nd Avenue on their way back from a birthday party for the Fungs’ son early in the morning Feb. 1 when they were allegedly run down by Guyear. Robert, a well−liked teen who attended Brooklyn Technical High School, died at the scene.

Brendan Ogle said the party was likely the first time Robert had gotten drunk and he needed help getting home.

“If there was no alcohol at that party, my son would be alive today,” he said.

The suit does not specify the amount the Ogles are seeking. Rubenstein said that if his clients won the case, a jury would determine the amount and portion it out among the defendants. The process is expected to take as much as three years.

Ogle’s death has also produced legislation in the City Council to raise the fine for leaving cars running unattended from $5 to $250. That bill is currently in the Council’s Transportation Committee.

Guyear, whose blood−alcohol level was .26 when he was arrested, was next scheduled to appear in criminal court May 13.

While in custody Feb. 1, Guyear allegedly told police he had five or six vodka drinks and two prescription pills at a different party and admitted he stole the car, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. He was arraigned on charges, including assault, vehicular manslaughter, larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminally negligent homicide, grand larceny, leaving the scene without reporting a felony and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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