Drunk Driver Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Striking a College Student Who Was Rollerblading in Brownsville

Monday, June 17, 2019


Drunk Driver Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Fatally Striking a
College Student Who Was Rollerblading in Brownsville

Defendant Intentionally Crashed Vehicle During Argument with Boyfriend,
While Driving 97 MPH; Continued Driving, Crashing into Four Cars
And Injuring Several Passengers

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 39-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for fatally striking a college student while driving intoxicated and getting into an argument with his boyfriend during which he threatened to crash the car. After striking the 21-year-old victim, the defendant continued driving and hit four additional vehicles.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant intentionally turned his vehicle into a weapon and senselessly killed a promising young man. His actions placed many others in danger that night and caused additional injuries. We will never tolerate this type of criminal and deadly behavior on our roads.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Terrance Smith, 39, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision following his guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter on May 28, 2019.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 8, 2017, at approximately 8:35 p.m., the defendant was driving his 2012 Infinity near Glenmore Avenue and Powell Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn, when he started to argue with his partner who was in the front seat. The defendant threatened his boyfriend by saying, “I’m going to crash this b—h, I’m going to kill us” and, as he accelerated down Powell Street, struck 21-year-old Michael Joefield, a college student from Brownsville, who was rollerblading. The defendant’s vehicle’s black box recorded his speed as 97 miles per hour at the moment of impact with the victim.

The impact from the car threw the victim into the air and he landed head first on a van, shattering his skull and killing him instantly. The defendant continued to drive down Powell Street, hitting four cars that were stopped or parked. One was a livery cab with an eight-month-pregnant woman and her toddler. The cab driver suffered injuries to his neck and head, the mother lost her unborn baby and the toddler suffered injuries to her eyes from broken glass.

The defendant exited his vehicle near Junius Street, leaving his partner with multiple lacerations to his face and an injured knee. The defendant, who suffered no injuries, was found near scaffolding trying to hide from the police. Video surveillance captured his car accelerating on Powell Street and the moment of impact with the first victim, according to the investigation. A second video captured the defendant’s vehicle crashing into the other cars.

The defendant’s blood alcohol content was .22, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kori Medow, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Orange Zone Trial Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Victoria Clarkson, of the Orange Zone, with the assistance of Senior Assistant District Attorney Farin Chasin-Fodeman, also of the Orange Zone, under the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Janet Gleeson, Bureau Chief.