Lloyd Williams appears at Nassau County Courthouse for closing arguments...

Lloyd Williams appears at Nassau County Courthouse for closing arguments in Mineola, New York. (Sept. 20, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Hempstead man was sentenced Wednesday to the maximum term of 25 years to life in prison for killing another man in a traffic accident.

Lloyd Williams, 28, was handcuffed behind his back during the sentencing before Judge Tammy Robbins in Nassau County Court, but twisted in his chair to apologize to the family and friends of the dead man, Chad Whethers, 24, of Roosevelt.

He still insisted, however, that he was fleeing after being shot at, and thought a friend he was with had been shot and needed to get to a hospital. He sped through eight stop signs and six red lights with police in pursuit before he hit Whethers' car.

The judge said Williams, who was drunk and had been smoking marijuana before the accident, was still trying to avoid responsibility.

"This was not an accident. This was a crime . . . This was your fault," Robbins said before imposing the sentence on Williams.

Whethers' mother, Brenda Whitehurst, of Roosevelt, briefly addressed the judge before sentencing, but most of her words could not be heard as she cried and gasped.

It was the third time since Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice took office in 2006 that she has won a murder conviction in a motor vehicle case -- a rare charge that can be difficult to prove.

Prosecutors said Williams and another man were involved in a fight with bouncers at the Phase Bar in Freeport and that a shot was fired shortly before the 3 a.m. crash on June 18, 2011.

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