Drunk Driver Charged with Manslaughter in Fatal Post-Christmas Crash at Manhattan Bridge
Prosecutors last week indicted a man on charges of manslaughter for the fatal drunk driving crash last month on the Bowery that left a teenager dead.
In the early morning hours of December 26, authorities said that 22-year-old Gerald Joseph was traveling westbound across the Manhattan Bridge at 65 mph, nearly twice the legal limit (i.e. 35 mph). According to court records, he had been driving his 17-year-old friend Shareef Bellerand from Brooklyn to New Jersey. Once exited from the span, Joseph, who was allegedly driving drunk, lost control of the 2004 Mazda6 and swerved into a fire hydrant at Bowery and Canal. The blunt force of the impact caused the pump to fly across four lanes of traffic on the Bowery, the vehicle to flip over, and catch fire.
Both were trapped in the car for twenty minutes as first responders rushed to extricate them. Bellerand was transported to New York Presbyterian Hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival.
According to a blood test taken hours after the crash, the defendent carried a blood alcohol level of .14. Joseph was arrested later that day.
In a press release last week, District Attorney Cy Vance announced that Joseph was indicted on manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter charges.
“Drunk driving around the holidays claims the lives of far too many victims,” Vance said. “There is simply no excuse for driving drunk, especially in a city like New York, where we have numerous public and private transit alternatives at our disposal.”