Southern Brooklyn

Driver charged with manslaughter for deadly Gowanus crash

May 18, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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A Staten Island man was indicted Tuesday on manslaughter charges related to a fatal crash on the Gowanus Expressway in March.

Mark Dookhan, 30, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and related charges. 

Dookhan was driving his BMW west on the Gowanus at 11:20 p.m. on March 10 when he struck the rear of a tractor trailer that was stopped in traffic near the Verrazzano Bridge. Karen Diaz, Dookan’s 30-year-old passenger, died at the scene.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office alleged that Dookhan was driving about 75 mph and that he applied the brakes only a half-second before the crash. When he was arrested a few hours later, he allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .12 — above the legal limit of .08.

“This defendant allegedly made the regrettable decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol,” said Gonzalez. “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.”

Dookhan faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count. He remains free on $300,000 bail and was ordered to return to court on July 26.  

Update: This article has been updated to fix the spelling of the defendant’s last name.

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