A Freeport man was sentenced to 5 years in prison for driving a Mercedes at high speed into three vehicles, leaving one male driver with life-threatening injuries, before fleeing, authorities said Monday.
Kelvin O’Neal, 44, pleaded guilty March 21 to two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault, and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in physical injury, said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Officials said O’Neal was sentenced last Friday by Judge William O’Brien to the prison term along with two years of post-release supervision.
Singas said in a statement Monday O’Neal was speeding behind the wheel of a black Mercedes about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 30, 2017. That’s when he drove east on the Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown and sped through a red light at the intersection of Wantagh Avenue before plowing into three vehicles, officials said.
Following an investigation, O’Neal was arrested on May 22, officials said.
“This defendant drove at outrageous speeds, crashed into innocent victims causing horrific injuries, and then fled the scene,” Singas said. “I’m grateful to the Nassau County Police Department for tracking down this menace and to our prosecutors for bringing him to justice.”
O’Neal first struck the driver’s side of a pickup, causing it to overturn and explode into flames, officials said. The driver of the pickup suffered broken ribs, pulmonary contusions and a brain bleed. As part of his treatment, the driver was placed into a medically induced coma. He continues to feel the effects of his injuries, officials said. The passenger in the pickup suffered a broken collarbone and fractures to her ankle and foot, causing early-onset arthritis, officials said.
The second vehicle O’Neal struck with his Mercedes was a Jeep. The driver and passenger of that vehicle suffered unspecified injuries. The third vehicle the Mercedes struck was damaged, but the driver was uninjured, Singas said.