A Queens man, who police said was drunk when the sport utility vehicle he was driving slammed into a family sedan on the Southern State Parkway, killing a college professor and his young son and daughter, faces arraignment Monday morning in First District Court in Central Islip -- charged with DWI and fleeing the scene.
Oneil Sharpe, Jr., 24, of Springfield Gardens, Queens, was arrested hours after the fatal crash, which occurred on the westbound Southern State near Exit 41S in Bay Shore at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.
The crash killed Ancio Ostane, 37, of St. Albans, Queens, a Haitian immigrant who taught mathematics at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, son Andy, 8, and daughter Sephora, 4, their 2005 Toyota bursting into flames after being rear-ended by the 2008 BMW driven by Sharpe, state police said. Wife and mother Lucnie Bouaz-Ostane, a blood-bank technician at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn and Brooklyn Hospital Center, was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and was later released.
Police said she was not injured in the crash.
Sharpe was arrested hours after the fatal crash at the Rockville Centre home of the person they described as the registered owner of the BMW abandoned at the scene. But, people who answered the door at the home Sunday said they don't know Sharpe -- or the owner.
Police are trying to determine if Sharpe left the crash scene on foot or was driven off by another vehicle. He was held overnight at the Third Precinct in Bay Shore, after being transferred from the state police barracks in Brentwood. During his transfer, Sharpe wore purple and gold basketball shorts and used a black Nike jacket to shield his face.
Several relatives declined to speak with reporters after being reached by phone about Sharpe. One, who identified herself as his grandmother, said driving while intoxicated wasn't typical behavior.
"All I know," she said, "is he went out with his friends. I can't tell you what happened. I wasn't there. All I know is there was an accident."
Meeting with reporters Sunday at her Queens home, Bouaz-Ostane sat, sobbing and leaning on family members, talking about the devastation of losing her husband and children.
"I want my family back," she said. "All I want is my family back."
Bouaz-Ostane said she and her family had attended a barbecue in Central Islip that ended in prayer, then secured their children in the Toyota for the 35-mile drive to St. Albans.
Skid marks on the pavement at Exit 41S, Bay Shore Road near the Robert Moses Causeway interchange, told the rest of the story; skid marks that went from the left lane of the express route across a median and into the right lane of the local portion of roadway.
That is where the Toyota finally came to a halt.
Following the impact, Bouaz-Ostane said she exited the vehicle. She recalled noticing blood on her shirt, which she thought was her husband's. The car burst into flames; Bouaz-Ostane said she tried to reach her children, in the backseat, but the doors were locked.
"I was trying to get back in," she said Sunday. Of the impact, she said: "I didn't think it was so severe." Her family all died at the scene, police said.
Motorists stopped at the crash site, taking cellphone images of the license plate of the BMW, police said.
Bouaz-Ostane thanked those who tried, in vain, to help.
After the crash, Bouaz-Ostane went home. She met with family and friends and talked of the basic milestones her children will never reach.
"He was so happy to go into third grade, but he didn't make it," she said of Andy. Sephora "was happy to go to kindergarten and say, 'I'm going to be a big girl.' But she didn't make it."
She described her husband, who in addition to his work at Medgar Evers also taught math at a Brooklyn high school, as a humble man and a great father. "He cleaned the house so I can be happy when I come home from work," she recalled of this past Friday, when he also brought her flowers.
Neighbors on 115th Road, a street of two-story detached homes with neatly trimmed front lawns and small backyards, came by to offer condolences to the family and grieve themselves. "They were a very funny, happy family," Sonia Michel, a close family friend, said. "The children are full of energy, full of life. It's a family of strong faith."
Andy, who just celebrated his first Communion in May, and Sephora were remembered for the simple things: Andy's love of the movie "Cars" and its main character, Lightning McQueen, and drawing; Sephora's love of ballet and basketball. The two enjoyed riding their scooters together.
Bouaz-Ostane's sister, Nicaise Bouaz, 43, remembered cutting her niece's hair a few weeks ago, when Sephora said, "Take my picture. Send that to mommy."
Bouaz was in Rhode Island when her sister called with the news. She immediately drove to Queens.
"Oh my God," she cried Sunday. "My niece, nephew and brother-in-law are dead."
With David M. Schwartz, Lisa Irizarry, Sarah Armaghan and Deon J. Hampton.