A Brooklyn man who last year sped away from police and caused a wrong-way crash on a Long Island Expressway exit ramp that killed his pregnant fiancee is heading to prison for several years.
A judge Wednesday sentenced Courtney Corbett, 29, to 4 to 8 years behind bars after he surrendered in Nassau County Court.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz said she recognized Corbett was remorseful and had lost his fiancee and their unborn child, but that he had to face consequences for his behavior.
The sentencing followed Corbett’s November guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter and other charges that included assault, fleeing police, reckless endangerment and possessing forged credit cards and driver’s licenses.
Authorities have said crash victim Demytra Gibbs, 27, was six months pregnant when she died after the June 18, 2017, collision in North Hills on an LIE exit ramp. Medical personnel couldn’t save the couple’s unborn baby in the aftermath.
Corbett’s Hyundai Sonata had hit another car head-on after he drove the wrong way on the LIE service road while speeding away from an officer who was pursuing the vehicle after a suspected shoplifting incident at Americana Mall in Manhasset, according to authorities.
The judge said that while Gibbs’ family had put up bond money for Corbett, they were feeling “mixed” emotions as his sentencing day arrived. She had said during Corbett’s November court date that Gibbs’ mother, after posting his $200,000 bond, had asked for leniency and no jail time for him.
But Berkowitz added Wednesday that she wasn’t sentencing Corbett based on what Gibbs’ family felt, but based on who Corbett was and what he did.
Prosecutor Michael Bushwack had called for a prison sentence of 6 to 12 years for the defendant.
Authorities said Gibbs had been the Hyundai’s front seat passenger and that the crash also left the backseat passenger, Khadisah Greene, then 23, with neck and back injuries. The 44-year-old male driver of the Audi that Corbett’s car hit also suffered back pain, according to police.
The police pursuit of the Hyundai started after a 3:37 p.m. 911 call from a security guard at the mall’s Sephora store, reporting two female shoplifting suspects had fled in a black Hyundai with a male driver, according to Nassau police. They said after the crash they believed Gibbs and Greene presented fraudulent credit cards inside the mall while Corbett waited outside.
An officer tried to pull over the Hyundai on Shelter Rock Road before Corbett sped away, swerving around other vehicles and ignoring red lights, according to authorities.
Police have said Corbett soon traveled west into the eastbound lanes of the LIE service road, and the officer stopped pursuing the Hyundai after a chase of about 1 1⁄2 miles that ended on that road.