Man convicted in Sunrise Highway crash that left passenger paralyzed
A Manhattan man has been convicted by a jury of driving drunk and crashing his car on Sunrise Highway near Wantagh State Parkway, leaving his female passenger paralyzed from the chest down.
Lumumba Woods, 50, was convicted on Friday of second-degree assault, second-degree vehicular assault and two counts of driving while intoxicated following a weeklong trial, Nassau prosecutors said. The jury deliberated for about three hours.
“Lumumba Woods was drunk when he sped past one car, crashed into the center median, shot across three lanes of travel, and flipped his SUV multiple times,” Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement. “The victim suffered catastrophic injuries and is still unable to talk or walk, two years after the crash, due to this defendant’s reckless actions. Mr. Woods, who was one-and-a-half times the legal limit for alcohol, endangered every person on the road that evening.”
Woods represented himself at trial while attorney William Shanahan of Mineola served as his legal advisor. Efforts to reach Shanahan Monday were not successful.
Woods faces up to seven years in prison and is due back in court Jan. 17 for sentencing.
Prosecutors said Woods was driving a 2003 Acura MDX westbound on Sunrise Highway, in the vicinity of the Wantagh State Parkway, at 9 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2020 with a female passenger in the front passenger seat.
Woods sped past one vehicle, struck the center median, and his vehicle rolled over multiple times, coming to rest upright on the north shoulder of Sunrise Highway, authorities said. A witnessed testified at trial to seeing the car flip over more than 10 times, officials said.
The 58-year-old passenger was ejected about 20 feet from the vehicle, prosecutors said.
She was taken to Nassau University Medical Center after suffering multiple broken bones. The woman, records show, is paralyzed from the chest down and unable to speak.
Woods submitted to a breath test at the scene and had a 0.12 blood alcohol content after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08.
He was arrested at the scene by state troopers.
Woods was convicted of second-degree murder in Suffolk County in 1992 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He was released in 2014.