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No proof client drunk at time of fatal SSP crash, attorney says

Oniel Sharpe Jr., 25, of Springfield Gardens, Queens,

Oniel Sharpe Jr., 25, of Springfield Gardens, Queens, is accused of causing a fiery car crash in Bay Shore that killed a man and his two children on the Southern State Parkway in July 2015. His lawyer told jurors during summation Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, that there is no evidence his client was drunk at the time of the collision. Credit: SCPD

The attorney representing a Queens maintenance worker charged with causing a fiery car crash in Bay Shore that killed a man and his children told jurors during summation Tuesday that there is no evidence his client was drunk at the time of the 2015 collision.

Jonathan Manley, the attorney for Oniel Sharpe Jr., of Springfield Gardens, said Sharpe’s blood alcohol content was .05 percent, below the legal threshold of .08 percent. Sharpe’s blood was drawn more than five hours after the crash, which occurred at 1:25 a.m. on July 12, 2015.

Manley said a prosecution witness, Mark Katz, who used a mathematical formula called retrograde extrapolation, was guessing when he testified that had authorities been able to get a sample of Sharpe’s blood at the time of the collision, his blood-alcohol level would have been 0.12.

“He has no idea what Oniel Sharpe’s blood alcohol content was at 1:25 a.m.,” Manley told jurors before state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in Central Islip. “No one in this room does.”

Sharpe, 25, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and other crimes in the deaths of Ancio Ostane, 37, and his son, Andy, 8, and daughter, Sephora, 4, all of St. Albans, Queens. Sharpe is accused of driving drunk at high speed and fleeing the scene after the Ostane family’s Toyota RAV4 exploded on the Southern State Parkway at exit 41S, trapping all three inside. They burned to death. Ostane’s wife and the mother of his children, Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane, escaped, but she was unable to save her family.

Suffolk prosecutors said Sharpe was driving his mother’s silver BMW X5 sport utility vehicle and racing behind a black BMW sedan driven by Sheon Richards, 26, also of St. Albans. Both men had been at a booze-fueled party hours before the crash, they said.

Sharpe, who did not testify at his trial, faces a maximum of 13 to 39 years in prison.

When it was her turn to address the jurors, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Brosco said after the crash Sharpe did everything he could to get rid of any evidence that he was drunk.

A cellphone video showed Sharp taking a Patron tequila bottle, the one Brosco said he brought to the party earlier and didn’t finish, and tossing it into the woods. Then he climbed into a friend’s car and fled the scene. For the next 3 1⁄2 hours, Brosco said, Sharpe evaded authorities so he could buy himself time to allow the alcohol in his body to dissipate.

“He was hiding. He was delaying because he was intoxicated,” Brosco told jurors.

Sharpe and his friends — one received a minor injury in the crash — came up with a plan to drive to a hospital, Brosco said. They drove to Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, 23 miles away, bypassing hospitals closer to the crash site, including Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

“It was all a ruse so the defendant could leave the scene,” Brosco said.

Cellphone records showed that Sharpe hung out near the crash site for more than an hour while state troopers were looking for him at his mother’s house in Rockville Centre.

Sharpe did not turn himself in to authorities for questioning until about 5 a.m., 3 1⁄2 hours after the deadly collision.

The jurors, who were instructed on the law, are scheduled to begin deliberations Wednesday.

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