St. Albans woman indicted in fatal 2021 collision on Van Wyck Expressway in South Ozone Park: DA

fatal collision arraignment
A St. Albans woman was arraigned in connection to a fatal crash two years ago on the Van Wyck Expressway in South Ozone Park.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

A St.Albans woman was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court Aug. 3 on an indictment charging her with manslaughter, assault and leaving the scene in connection with a high-speed collision on the Van Wyck Expressway in South Ozone Park that killed a passenger in another vehicle and seriously injured the driver in 2021.

Semone Douglass, 30, of 115th Avenue, surrendered at the 113th Precinct on Thursday morning, Aug. 3, and hours later she stood before Queens Supreme Court Justice Nestor Diaz and was criminally charged in an 11-count indictment with manslaughter in the second degree, two counts of assault in the second degree, three counts of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, criminally negligent homicide, two counts of assault in the third degree, reckless driving and driving in excess of the maximum speed limit.

According to the charges, during the early morning of Aug. 1, 2021, Douglass was driving a 2021 BMW X6 southbound on the Van Wyck Expressway near 116th Avenue at about 132 mph at around 3:20 a.m. when she hit the rear of a 2015 Nissan Altima going about 60 mph. The BMW crashed through a fence and guardrail on the right side of the southbound lane and caused the Nissan to hit the back of a Toyota Camry. Blanche Olmo, 77, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat of the Nissan, was pronounced dead by EMS at the scene of the crash.

Gabriel Alban, 40, who was driving the Nissan, was rushed by EMS to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was treated for multiple fractures to his ribs, spine and left arm and a collapsed lung. He later suffered from a stroke after a severe brain bleed and was released to the care of his family in November 2021.

After the crash, Douglass was seen by first responders sitting in the driver’s seat of the BMW, which was resting on a curb on the Van Wyck service road. She then went to sit in a Mercedes Benz that arrived on the scene. The Mercedes Benz, which was boxed in by emergency response vehicles, tried to reverse out of its parked position and then stopped. Douglass was seen getting out of the Mercedes Benz and running north on the service road. DNA collected from the BMW’s airbag matched Douglass’.

“We have all too often seen the deadly consequences of drivers disregarding the rules of the road and the lives of their fellow motorists, leaving families to mourn senseless tragedies,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “We will work to achieve justice for those families and their lost loved ones.”

Justice Diaz ordered Douglass to return to court Aug. 15. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.