Rosedale native indicted by Queens grand jury for fatal crash that killed her cousin in 2022: DA

A Rosedale native turned herself in at the 105th Precinct on Monday and was arraigned Tuesday in Queens Supreme Court, where she was charged with criminally negligent homicide for a fatal crash that killed her cousin.
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A Rosedale woman, who relocated to Philadelphia, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on Tuesday on an indictment charging her with criminally negligent homicide in connection with a high-speed collision on the Cross Island Parkway that killed her cousin and left her aunt gravely injured.

Makela McDonald, 28, was indicted by a Queens grand jury and turned herself in Monday at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village, and faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

According to the charges, during the early morning hours of Apr. 8, 2022, McDonald was behind the wheel of a black 2017 Mercedes Benz GLA 350 traveling southbound on the Cross Island Parkway during a rainstorm. At around 3:15 a.m., McDonald was driving at approximately 123 miles per hour where the speed limit is posted at 50 mph, approaching a split in the highway with exit ramps for the eastbound Southern State Parkway and the westbound Belt Parkway. McDonald failed to maintain her lane, entered a grass median separating the exit ramps and struck a guardrail, launching the vehicle airborne.

The car rolled over several times before striking an overhead light pole and the gantry supporting an overhead road sign, coming to a rest on its roof. Police from the 105th Precinct and EMS personnel responded to the scene. The backseat passenger, McDonald’s cousin, Moesha McLaughlin, 24, was pinned inside the wreckage. First responders extracted her from the vehicle and she was rushed by EMS to Northwell Health/Valley Stream Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The front passenger, McDonald’s aunt, Nyasha Turnbull, 32, of Rosedale, was found seated upside down with her seatbelt on. She was pulled from the wreckage and transported by EMS to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, with injuries to her lung, arm, shoulder, pelvis and liver. McDonald was rushed by EMS to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset where she was listed in stable condition.

“Disregarding the rules of the road often has devastating consequences,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “A life has been cut short and a family left heartbroken because the defendant, as alleged, drove at nearly two-and-a-half times the speed limit. My office will continue to prioritize cases of vehicular crimes to ensure that dangerous drivers are held accountable.”

In addition to criminally negligent homicide, McDonald was also charged with reckless driving, driving in excess of the maximum speed limit and operating a vehicle at unreasonable speed. Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Hartofilis ordered her to return to court on March 20.