By Julia Moro
Andrew Shakespeare, 34, of Roselle, N.J., pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in a 2017 crash on the Grand Central Parkway that left two people dead, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Gia Morris sentenced Shakespeare to an intermediate seven to 21 years in prison.
This comes after the defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in April. Shakespeare’s release from prison will include an interlock ignition device installed to any car he drives, preventing the vehicle from starting if he is intoxicated.
Brown said the multi-vehicle accident killed two of Shakespeare’s four passengers — a 16-year-old boy and a 34-year-old man — while injuring the other two. Five other people were seriously injured in the four-car collision on the Grand Central in the early morning of July 16, 2017, according to the DA.
“A night of celebrating ended tragically with the deaths of two people as a result of this defendant’s reckless actions,” Brown said.
At about 6:30 a.m., Shakespeare and his passengers were returning home after attending a wedding and Shakespeare was “in a highly intoxicated condition” when he drove his black BMW X5 up to 117 mph in the westbound lane of the Grand Central Parkway at 188th Street and attempted to pass a white Nissan in the entrance lane, according to Brown.
The defendant sideswiped that vehicle and lost control of the BMW, Brown said. Then Shakespeare slammed into a silver Nissan Rogue. Shakespeare’s vehicle, along with the Nissan Rogue, crashed through the center guardrail separating the westbound and eastbound lanes.
The two vehicles flipped over multiple times and when the dust settled, the Nissan Rogue stopped upside down, and Shakespeare’s SUV came to a rest on its tires on the eastbound side of the parkway, according to the DA.
A Mercedes Benz SUV traveling eastbound on the parkway was also involved in the accident. The driver saw the defendant’s vehicle and the Nissan Rogue coming toward him and had to abruptly take action, resulting in the vehicle flipping over as well.
According to court records, the driver and two passengers in the Nissan Rogue and the drivers of the Mercedes Benz and white Nissan were seriously injured as a result of the crash.
Shakespeare’s blood alcohol level was .10 above the legal limit, according to the DA. This information was only determined after the defendant refused tests and was then forced to comply, due to a court order warrant obtained five hours after the crash.
“As a result of his senseless actions, the defendant has been sentenced to a lengthy term of incarceration,” Brown said.
Reach reporter Julia Moro by e-mail at jmoro