A New Jersey man will be spending up to two decades in a New York prison for causing a deadly crash on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens while driving drunk last July.
Andrew Shakespeare, 34, of Roselle, NJ, pleaded guilty in April to aggravated vehicular homicide, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. Shakespeare was ordered on Monday, June 4, to serve between 7 and 21 years behind bars; following his release, he must also have an interlock ignition device installed on any car he drives for a five-year period.
“[Shakespeare] got behind the wheel of his vehicle in a highly intoxicated condition and drove up to 117 mph on the Grand Central Parkway,” Brown said in a June 5 statement. “He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into several other autos. Two passengers, including a 16-year-old boy, in the defendant’s vehicle died, and several others were seriously injured.”
Law enforcement sources said the deadly crash occurred at 6:30 a.m. on July 16 along the westbound lanes of the Grand Central parkway near 188th Street.
Prosecutors said Shakespeare was operating a black BMW X5 SUV at a high rate of speed, carrying several passengers on board, returning home from a wedding celebration.
As he attempted to pass a white Nissan vehicle in the entrance lane, Shakespeare side-swiped the car, then lost control of the SUV, which then crashed into a silver Nissan Rogue, flipping that vehicle over.
Police said the SUV then proceeded to smash through the center median guardrail and hurtled into the eastbound lanes, flipping over numerous times before finally coming to a rest on the eastbound shoulder.
Authorities said that the driver of a Mercedes Benz SUV traveling eastbound on the parkway swerved to avoid striking the BMW and the Nissan Rogue, and wound up overturning as well.
Officers from the NYPD Highway Patrol and numerous EMS units rushed to the scene. Upon arriving at the scene, paramedics found one of Shakespeare’s passengers — Akeam Grant, 16, of Brooklyn — lying on the roadway with severe trauma about his body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second passenger, Brooklyn’s Layon Campbell, 34, was found unconscious behind the front passenger seat. After being extracted from the wreckage by first responders, paramedics rushed him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Five others involved in the four-car pileup were hospitalized with serious injuries.
The responding police officers noticed that Shakespeare exhibited various signs of intoxication, including a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Prosecutors said that Shakespeare initially refused to take tests to determine his blood alcohol level.
Cops eventually secured a court order mandating the test, which was administered five hours after the crash. The test found that Shakespeare’s blood alcohol level was 0.10, well above the 0.08 legal limit.