A Rockville Centre woman broke down in tears Wednesday after a jury found her guilty of driving drunk and causing the death of her best friend in a 2013 crash.
Prosecutors said Asya Ulmer, 23, is now facing the possibility of up to 15 years in prison after her conviction on manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and DWI charges.
The Sept. 15, 2013, crash that killed Jennifer Alexis, 21, of Bayside, Queens, happened as Ulmer drove the two home from the Rockville Centre train station after a night out in Manhattan.
She testified that Alexis grabbed her arm and the steering wheel and she wasn't able to straighten out the BMW she was driving before it hit the back of an illegally parked tractor-trailer. Ulmer also told jurors she hadn't been drunk at the time, despite drinking that night.
Her attorney, Frederick Brewington of Hempstead, also had attacked the results of blood-alcohol tests. He said there were problems with a testing device, that authorities waited too long to test samples and that the chain of custody for that evidence wasn't properly documented.
But prosecutors said tests were proper and accurate and showed Ulmer had a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit. Assistant District Attorney Gene Kang told jurors in closing arguments that a video of the crash showed Ulmer didn't swerve before impact.
"We're disappointed in the jury's verdict," Brewington said Wednesday. "We think there were ample issues which raise reasonable doubts and we'll go forward from here."
He said it was premature to say if Ulmer intended to file an appeal, and that he intends to file a post-trial motion.
Nassau Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas hugged Alexis' mother outside the courtroom shortly after the verdict.
Singas told Newsday that Alexis' family "will never be the same" and that Ulmer made "a bad choice that took her best friend's life."
Singas added: "The jury held her accountable for her actions and we have to remain vigilant to make sure that this doesn't happen to another family."