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Hempstead man sentenced in fatal crash that killed lifelong friend

Defense attorney Dana Grossblatt said after the sentencing that the victim, a mother of two, had been a lifelong friend of Billups' and her death deeply impacted him. 

William Billups, left, of Hempstead, was arrested early

William Billups, left, of Hempstead, was arrested early Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, and charged with manslaughter in a fatal two-car crash in Freeport that killed his female passenger. Police and firefighters, right, respond to the crash. Photo Credit: NCPD; Paul Mazza

A Hempstead man is heading to prison following a 2016 crash that killed his car's passenger — a lifelong friend — after police said he sped away from a Freeport traffic stop.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Schwartz on Thursday sentenced William Billups, 48, to 3 to 6 years behind bars. Billups pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter.

"I'm truly sorry for my actions," Billups told the judge.

The victim of the Nov. 2, 2016, crash was Brandee Dudley, 33, who authorities said died from "blunt force" trauma.

Defense attorney Dana Grossblatt said after the sentencing that Dudley, a mother of two, had been a lifelong friend of Billups' and her death deeply impacted him. 

"Mr. Billups has taken responsibility for his actions since day one. He has admitted that he wished he died along with her," the Jericho lawyer added.

Grossblatt said Billups was giving the woman a ride to a corner store at the time of the collision.

Billups pleaded guilty in 2015 to a felony drug charge and got a three-year prison sentence, according to Thursday's court proceeding. Police said he was on parole at the time of the crash.

Authorities said the wreck happened after Billups ran a stop sign and hit a 2012 Mercedes-Benz. The 24-year-old man  driving that vehicle suffered a broken jaw, according to police.

Minutes before the crash, plainclothes officers in an unmarked police van used their vehicle's emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop of Billups' 2001 Buick LeSabre in Roosevelt because he was speeding, police said previously.

Billups stopped his Buick and an officer approached the vehicle, but Billups sped away before officers attempted to follow him and lost sight of the car, police have said.

Minutes later, the officers heard a loud noise and drove toward it, soon coming upon the crash, according to police.

The force of the collision at the intersection of Seaman Avenue and Rutland Road pushed the Buick and the Mercedes-Benz onto the lawn of a nearby home, authorities said.

Billups had 22 prior arrests, according to police.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Thursday that Dudley was "senselessly killed" by Billups, "who had a suspended license and sped through a stop sign to avoid a traffic stop."

Singas called the victim and the woman's family "the innocent victims of this defendant’s criminal decisions.”

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