Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Semone Douglass was arraigned today on an indictment charging her with manslaughter, assault and leaving the scene in connection with a high-speed car crash on the Van Wyck Expressway that killed a passenger in another vehicle and seriously injured its driver.

District Attorney Katz said: “We have all too often seen the deadly consequences of drivers disregarding the rules of the road and the lives of their fellow motorists, leaving families to mourn senseless tragedies. We will work to achieve justice for those families and their lost loved ones.”

Douglass, 30, of 115th Avenue in Jamaica, was charged in an 11-count indictment with manslaughter in the second degree, two counts of assault in the second degree, three counts of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, criminally negligent homicide, two counts of assault in the third degree, reckless driving and driving in excess of the maximum speed limit. Queens Supreme Court Justice Nestor Diaz ordered Douglass to return to court August 15. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.

According to the charges:

  • On August 1, 2021, at approximately 3:20 a.m., Douglass was driving a 2021 BMW X6 southbound on the Van Wyck Expressway at about 132 mph. Douglass hit the rear of a 2015 Nissan Altima going about 60 mph.
  • The BMW went through a fence and guardrail on the right side of the southbound lane and caused the Nissan to hit the back of a Toyota Camry.
  • Blanche Olmo, 77, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat of the Nissan, was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Gabriel Alban, 40, who was driving the Nissan, was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where he was treated for multiple fractures to his ribs, spine and left arm and a collapsed lung. He later suffered from a stroke after a severe brain bleed and was released to the care of his family in November 2021.
  • After the crash, Douglass was seen by first responders sitting in the driver’s seat of the BMW, which was resting on a curb on the Van Wyck service road. She then went to sit in a Mercedes Benz that arrived on the scene. The Mercedes Benz, which was boxed in by emergency response vehicles, tried to reverse out of its parked position and then stopped. Douglass was seen getting out of the Mercedes Benz and running north on the service road.
  • DNA collected from the BMW’s airbag matched Douglass’.

Assistant District Attorney Christina Mavrikis, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trial IV Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Karen Rankin, Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Supreme Court Trials Pishoy B. Yacoub.

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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