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Queens Chronicle

Jamaica man pleads guilty in DWI death

Highway worker killed on Grand Central

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 10:30 am

A Jamaica man pleaded guilty on Jan. 24 to second-degree vehicular manslaughter in the drunk driving incident that killed a highway construction worker on the Grand Central Parkway on July 10.

Munshi Abdullah, 26, of 86th Road, will face two-and-one-third to seven years in prison plus a three-year conditional discharge when sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt on March 12.

Abdullah had a blood alcohol content reading of .18, or more than thrice the legal limit, the morning he struck and killed Frank Avino, 63, of Ronkonkoma, LI at about 11 a.m.

“The defendant has admitted that his violent actions were responsible for the untimely death of a hardworking family man,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement released by his office on Jan. 24.

“As such, the prison term and conditions to be imposed — which are the maximum under the law — are more than justified,” he added.

Avino, an employee of College Point-based Welsbach Electric Corp., was placing cones in the left westbound lane behind a construction truck that featured a large flashing arrow indicting a closed lane.

The Audi struck Avino, who hit the car’s windshield before he was catapulted to the top of the construction truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said Abdullah granted permission to take his blood when brought to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center following the crash.

He told police that he had been drinking that morning between midnight and 3 a.m., and that he was driving the Audi because his friends in the car were too drunk to drive.

He was unable to produce a valid New York State driver’s license. Police said their investigation of the crash determined that Abdullah was traveling a minimum of 58 miles per hour in a zone with a 50-mile-per-hour limit.

Abdullah has been held in lieu of $350,000 bail since his arrest.

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