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Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in fatal Hempstead crash

Sandra Williams holds her grandson Zyaire after Horace

Sandra Williams holds her grandson Zyaire after Horace Cummings pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, to manslaughter in the fatal crash that killed her daughter, Diamond Hawkins-Williams. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The young son of a Lakeview woman who died in a head-on crash watched Wednesday as court officials led away the man who admitted to causing her death on her 25th birthday.

Diamond Hawkins-Williams was a passenger in the new car she’d gotten hours earlier as a gift when the Nov. 21, 2015 wreck happened.

“He’s just the lucky one because although he may be away for a few years, he still is able to see his children when he gets out,” the victim’s mother, Sandra Williams, said Wednesday after Horace Cummings’ guilty plea.

The victim’s son, 4-year-old Zyaire, stood next to Williams in a Mineola courthouse, tossing his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hat into the air as she wiped away tears.

“He asks us for his mother, every day,” Williams said. “... Diamond will never be able to see her son.”

Cummings, 34, of Roosevelt, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, driving while impaired by alcohol and marijuana, and reckless endangerment in the death of Hawkins-Williams.

His plea came after Queens defense attorney Michael Siff, of Kew Gardens, told state Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald his client had taken time to consider all his options. The judge told Cummings he would sentence him April 6 to 4 to 12 years behind bars.

The crash happened early in the morning of the victim’s 25th birthday, hours after her grandmother had given her a 2015 Nissan Altima to mark the occasion, according to the family. They said Hawkins-Williams and Cummings had been dating for about two months at the time.

Authorities said the crash took place on Front Street in Hempstead after Cummings got behind the wheel of the Altima, crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle.

Hawkins-Williams was a single mother and Malverne High School graduate who worked as a motel clerk and also seasonally as a Nassau County parks employee.

Williams, 55, said her family now is helping Zyaire’s father raise her grandson. She also said she hopes Cummings will learn something from the tragedy.

“He has nothing but time now to think about it, and hopefully he’ll get out with a different mind and really live his life right,” she said.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement that Cummings not only stole the life of someone who had trusted him, but “risked every life on the road that night.”

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