FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide for Wrong Way Collision on Belt Parkway That Killed Passenger in Lyft
And Severely Injured Two Others
Defendant to be Sentenced to Seven to 21 Years in Prison
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 51-year-old Sheepshead Bay man has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and other charges for causing a head-on collision with a Lyft vehicle that killed one passenger and severely injured a second passenger and the Lyft driver on the Belt Parkway in July 2018. The impact of the collision catapulted one passenger into the front seat and caused the car to go up on to the guardrail.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The reckless and irresponsible actions of this defendant ended the life of a promising young man and devastated his family. By choosing to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, the defendant was a danger to everyone that night. I am committed to prosecuting dangerous drivers who threaten the safety of everyone on our roads.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Aleh Sheipak, 51, of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. He pleaded guilty today to aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who indicated that he will sentence the defendant to seven to 21 years on August 7, 2019.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 12, 2018, at approximately 1:51 a.m., the defendant was observed driving his 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan eastbound on the westbound lane of the Belt Parkway. The investigation revealed that the defendant drove over two miles in the wrong direction and collided head-on with a 2018 Honda Accord Lyft at Exit 3, near the Verrazzano Bridge entrance ramp of the Belt Parkway. The impact of the collision caused the Honda to land on the guardrail in the center median.
Furthermore, one of the passengers, 27-year-old Gerald Obah, was trapped in the back seat, while a second passenger, a 29-year-old woman, was catapulted into the front seat. The 20-year-old driver also suffered significant injuries. While at the scene the defendant showed signs of intoxication. The defendant failed a sobriety test administered by responding officers. The two injured passengers, who were coming from John F. Kennedy airport, were transported to NYU Langone Hospital, where Obah was pronounced dead. The woman was treated for multiple fractures and lacerations to her head, hip and leg. Both drivers were taken to Maimonides Hospital, where the defendant was treated for minor injuries and the Lyft driver was treated for a broken leg, jaw fracture, and lacerations to the face.
A warrant was obtained for the defendant’s blood and an analysis revealed that the defendant’s alcohol content at the time of the collision was in excess of .18, more than twice the legal limit.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Joseph Mancino, of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Theresa Shanahan, Deputy Chief of the Blue Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh, Bureau Chief. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nocella, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, assisted in the prosecution.