Three family members of a Wyandanch man who died in a January car crash huddled outside a courtroom and sobbed into one another's arms Saturday after a Coram man was arraigned on a felony first-degree vehicular manslaughter charge.
Hamzah Abdul-Hakim, 28, was killed while riding in a 2003 Infiniti driven by Stephan Harbison, 27, on Straight Path near Sagamore Lane in Deer Park at 4:36 a.m. on Jan. 26, prosecutors said.
Assistant District Attorney Shaun McCready said Harbison's blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal threshold of 0.08 percent for driving while intoxicated.PhotosRecent LI mug shotsDataLI crime stats
Harbison was held on $300,000 cash or $600,000 bond. His attorney, Natasja Bellinger of West Islip, pleaded not guilty on his behalf.
Harbison was driving south when he lost control of the vehicle, crossing into northbound lanes, sending the car airborne through a fence when it crashed into a tree, McCready said.
Abdul-Hakim was killed on impact, while a second passenger, Ismail Latif, 28, of Wyandanch, was "ejected over the fence into the neighbor's yard," McCready said. Latif suffered a traumatic brain injury but has been discharged from the hospital.
Harbison was also charged with operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 percent, driving while intoxicated, and felony first-degree vehicular assault, related to Latif's injuries.
After the incident, Harbison gave authorities a wrong name, police said. He was arrested Friday -- based on witness statements, physical evidence and lab results -- after he appeared in court on two open matters unrelated to the crash, including criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class E felony, and aggravated unlicensed operator, McCready said.
Harbison was convicted in 2008 of driving while intoxicated by drugs, according to the criminal complaint. Harbison's prior convictions also include aggravated unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle, twice as a misdemeanor and twice as a felony, McCready said.
Records show he served nearly three years in an upstate prison for burglary.
Harbison appeared at the hearing in a wheelchair with a brace on one of his legs. He stayed silent and kept his head down during the seven-minute proceeding, at which his license was suspended.
Sabria Hakim, 26, of Wyandanch, who said she is Abdul-Hakim's sister, said she had never met Harbison and wasn't sure how he knew her brother.
"It's been hard, we've been trying to deal with it the best way we can," she said. "We're trying to move forward."
Bellinger pushed for a lower bail, citing her client's "several" family members in Suffolk County, as well as a 1-year-old child who depends on him and another child expected to be born soon.
Outside court, Bellinger declined to comment. Harbison is due back in court Thursday for a grand jury proceeding.