A Queens man who killed a father of four while driving drunk on the Long Island Expressway said before surrendering for a prison sentence Tuesday that his punishment would last as long as he lived.
“The fact that I hurt someone is something I can’t live with,” Bonifacio Enriquez, 36, said in Nassau County Court while asking forgiveness from victim Roohul Ameen’s family, who were not in court. “My punishment will last my entire life. I am sorry and I accept my punishment.”
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Terence Murphy sentenced the College Point man to 2 to 6 years behind bars for the April 7, 2016, crash in Jericho that killed Ameen, 43.
In June, Enriquez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.
Ameen was a Pakistani immigrant and Bay Shore resident who had been on his way home to his wife and children from his job as an Uber driver when he died. The 2:05 a.m. wreck propelled Ameen into traffic before another vehicle dragged his body for about a half-mile.
Authorities said the Uber driver had stopped his Toyota Camry on the expressway because he was trying to tie up the car’s front bumper after damage from a different crash earlier that day. He was standing outside his car in the eastbound HOV lane when Enriquez tried to pass him on the left, between the Camry and the median. But Enriquez’s Ford Escape hit the Camry and Ameen, sending him into the left lane.
A Nissan Altima then hit the victim and dragged him. Authorities have said that vehicle’s driver didn’t break any laws.
“Before you is a man who is broken because of the harm that he’s caused to another human being and for that family,” Forest Hills attorney Todd Greenberg said in court Tuesday of his client, a health care worker.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Brand asked for a sentence of 3 to 9 years in prison, saying the victim’s family wasn’t present “because it brings them too much pain to come to court.”
District Attorney Madeline Singas said later in a statement that she hoped the prison sentence would help grieving relatives in their recovery after Enriquez’s actions “cost this hardworking family man his life.”
The judge said he believed Enriquez’s behavior on the day of the crash was an aberration but “still consequential,” because his actions took away a family’s breadwinner.
Murphy said the wife of the victim told probation officials the effects of her husband’s death have been tremendous, and their youngest child — an infant at the time of the crash — will never know his father.
But Murphy added that the victim’s wife also said their family “continues to wish the best for the defendant,” and that he hoped Enriquez would try to make amends to them, including teaching others about the danger of drinking and driving.
“I wish you the best of luck as you live the rest of your life carrying this burden of causing the death of another person,” the judge added.