FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Driver Who Crashed on Gowanus Expressway While Allegedly Driving Drunk and Speeding Indicted for Manslaughter
Allegedly Rear-Ended Tractor Trailer while Speeding Under the Influence,
Front Passenger Died in the Crash
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Staten Island man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The defendant was allegedly intoxicated and speeding when he rear-ended a tractor trailer on the Gowanus Expressway. A 30-year-old woman in the front passenger’s seat of the defendant’s vehicle died in the crash.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly made the regrettable decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. The evidence makes clear that he was in no condition to operate a vehicle, and that his recklessness cost the life of his passenger, a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. We will now seek to bring the defendant to justice.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mark Dookhan, 31, of Staten Island, New York. He was arraigned yesterday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dineen Riviezzo on an eight-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and related charges. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. He remains out on $300,000 bail and was ordered to return to court on July 26, 2021.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on March 10, 2021 at approximately 11:20 p.m., the defendant was allegedly driving a 2013 BMW 535i west bound on the Gowanus Expressway when he crashed into the rear of a tractor trailer stopped in traffic near the Verrazano Bridge. The defendant’s front seat passenger, Karen Diaz, 30, was killed in the collision.
It is alleged, according to the investigation, that the defendant was driving at approximately 75 miles per hour and that he applied the brakes only a half-second before the crash. The defendant was arrested at approximately 1:15 a.m. on March 11, 2021 and allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .12—above the legal limit of .08— when he was treated for minor injuries at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Edward Kerins, of the District Attorney’s Blue Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kin W. Ng, Bureau Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.