A Queens man ignored the cries of a family trapped in a burning vehicle and whisked an alleged drunken driver away from a fatal crash, hiding him for hours, a Suffolk prosecutor said Tuesday.
Demetri Stewart was following Oniel Sharpe Jr. back from a Brentwood party Sunday when the crash took place on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore. Afterward, Stewart drove Sharpe -- who had two passengers with him -- away from the crash, leaving a father and two children to die, prosecutors said.
"Instead of helping that poor family that was trapped in that burning vehicle . . . this defendant gathered his friends -- and took them away from the scene," Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco told a First District Court judge in Central Islip. "He didn't help that day."StoryWidow: 'I don't have a destination'EditorialEditorial: It's time to get serious about drunken driving
Brosco added: "This defendant saw . . . the victims' vehicle engulfed in flames. People were screaming from the vehicle."
Stewart then drove Sharpe around for four hours, while evidence of his intoxication "all disappeared," Brosco said.
Sharpe's blood-alcohol level was 0.06 percent, court records said. A level of more than 0.05 percent is legal evidence of impairment, while a level of 0.08 percent or higher is evidence of intoxication.
Stewart, 23, of Cambria Heights, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, third-degree hindering prosecution and fourth-degree criminal facilitation. He was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond.
Stewart is the second person to be charged in the crash that killed Ancio Ostane, 37, and his children, Andy, 8, and Sephora, 4, of St. Albans, Queens. Ostane's wife, Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane, 35, survived.
Sharpe, 24, of Springfield Gardens, Queens, is accused of causing the car fire in Ostane's Toyota by rear-ending him. Sharpe pleaded not guilty on Monday to driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
"They did absolutely nothing to help this family and everything to help themselves avoid detection," said Assistant District Attorney John Scott Prudenti, bureau chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit.
Stewart's Brooklyn-based attorney, Gregory Nanton, said, "My client was a Good Samaritan. He tried to help his friend."
Prosecutors said Stewart, Sharpe and friends were drinking at the party, leaving in several cars about 1:30 a.m. and going at a "high rate of speed." Ostane -- a Medgar Evers College math professor -- and his family were driving west around Exit 41S, Bay Shore Road, when the crash took place.
Stewart pulled over and checked on his friends, who were uninjured, Brosco said.
He dropped Sharpe off at Sharpe's mother's house in Rockville Centre hours later after learning police were searching for them, Brosco said.