Driver pleads not guilty in crash that killed St. Albans family

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A Rockville Centre man who was arrested last month for driving drunk and fleeing the scene of a car crash that left a St. Albans father and his two children dead, pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular manslaughter and 39 other charges, according to officials.

Oniel Sharpe Jr. rear-ended the car of Ancio Ostane on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore on July 12. Ostane and his two children, Andy, 8, and Sephora, 4, were pronounced dead, while his wife Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane was treated and released at South Side Hospital.

Sharpe, who fled the scene with the help of a friend, was originally charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of the accident. At his arraignment on Thursday, he was also charged with vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while intoxicated, tampering with physical evidence, following too closely, reckless driving, speeding, failure to maintain lane, failing to signal and failing to stay in his designated lane. If convicted of the top charge he will face up to 25 years in state prison, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Sharpe was also given 23 charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree after police found 23 fraudulent credit cards concealed in a pocket at the base of the steering wheel column of his BMW X-5 Sharpe.

“This is the textbook example of a drunk driver who tries to evade responsibility for his actions and sober up before encountering the police. This driver didn’t resurface until four hours after he rear-ended this car and destroyed an innocent family,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Ballone. “A driver convicted of that kind of behavior should face 15 years in prison upon conviction — eight more years behind bars than what today’s law provides.”

Three others were also arraigned in connection to the crash and credit card fraud.

Demetri Stewart, 23, of Cambria Heights drove Sharpe away from the scene and was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, hindering prosecution, criminal facilitation, making a sworn false statement and possession of marijuana.

Sharpe’s cousin Courtney Sharpe, 24, of Springfield Gardens pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and two counts of attempted identity theft in connection to the 23 fraudulent credit cards found in Oniel Sharpe’s car.

Sheon Richards, 23, of St. Albans who attended a barbecue with Sharpe and was driving a BMW 328 sedan on the parkway recklessly, was charged with speeding, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and failure to maintain lane.

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