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Hempstead driver arrested in fatal Freeport crash, police say

A Hempstead man faces a manslaughter charge after a two-car Freeport crash on Wednesday night, Nov. 2, 2016, that killed his female passenger, Nassau County police said Thursday. (Credit: Paul Mazza)

Nassau police said a Hempstead man charged with causing a deadly Freeport crash Wednesday night after running a stop sign had minutes earlier fled officers attempting to pull him over for speeding. The plainclothes officers “attempted to follow” the car but lost track on a Roosevelt street, police said Thursday.

After the 8:20 p.m. collision with a 2012 Mercedes Benz, police arrested William Billups, 45, of Parsons Drive, and charged him with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of his female passenger, authorities said, adding that his reckless driving caused the woman’s death.

The Mercedes driver, a 24-year-old man, broke his jaw in the crash, police said.

Billups also faces additional charges stemming from the collision at the intersection of Rutland Road and Seaman Avenue, police said Thursday at a news conference in Mineola.

The woman, 33, died of “blunt force,” said police, who did not release her name.

At the time of the crash, the plainclothes officers were not pursuing Billups in their unmarked police van, said Det. Captain John Azzata, commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Homicide Squad.

Azzata said at 8:08 p.m. the officers, driving east on Stevens Street in Roosevelt, saw Billups’ car, a 2001 Buick LeSabre, traveling west at a “high rate of speed.” He declined to say how fast Billups was driving.

The officers made a U-turn and followed Billups’ car, using “their emergency lights initially while attempting to pull over the vehicle and had no contact with the occupants of the vehicle prior to the crash,” Azzata said.

At 8:15 p.m., Azzata said, the officers “attempted” to pull over Billups’ car on Independence Avenue at North Main Street in Roosevelt. Billups car stopped, Azzata said, “but, according to the officers, they never saw the car go into park.”

The officer in the passenger seat got out of the van and approached Billups’ car, but Billups sped away, he said.

The officers then “attempted to follow” Billups’ car, but Azzata said Billups turned onto a side street and the officers “lost sight of it.”

Minutes later as they continued on patrol, the officers heard a loud noise, Azzata said, and drove toward it, soon coming upon the crash.

Azzata said Billups, heading west on Seaman Avenue, ran a stop sign and crashed into the passenger side of the Mercedes Benz as it headed south on Rutland Road. The force of the collision forced both cars on the lawn of a nearby house.

Billups, who sustained a leg injury, was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow where he remained Thursday. He was also charged with third-degree assault and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Billups has not been arraigned.

Azzata said Billups was previously arrested 22 times, including for robbery. He was on parole at the time of the crash, Azzata said.

Police would not release the names of the two plainclothes officers, saying doing so would impede their ability to carry out their duties, which include enforcing laws ranging from traffic violations to drug sales.

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