A BMW driver turned herself in to face manslaughter charges two years after a 132-mph hit-and-run crash on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens killed a 77-year-old woman, police sources said.
Semone Douglass surrendered Thursday to cops at the 113th Precinct stationhouse in South Jamaica. After processing, she was taken to Queens Supreme Court and arraigned on second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault, and reckless driving charges.
She was also charged with leaving the scene of an accident and speeding said a statement from Queens DA Melinda Katz.
Douglass pleaded not guilty. She was later freed on bail, which Judge Nestor Diaz set at $20,000 cash or $75,000 bond.
Douglass could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
“I can’t believe this woman is turning herself in,” said Michael Olmo, 60, the nephew of Blanche Olmo, who died in the collision. “At least it’s good news.”
Blanche Olmo was on her way to the airport when the crash occurred.
“She was supposed to see her son down in Florida,” Michael Olmo, told the Daily News Thursday. “I still can’t believe she’s gone. She was like my second mother. Everything I achieved in my life I loved to tell her (about it) and she was ecstatic.”
Cops say Douglass was behind the wheel of a speeding BMW X6 at about 3:20 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2021, when she rear-ended the Nissan Altima being driven as an Uber on the Van Wyck Expressway near 116th Ave. In that area, the Van Wyck runs on the border of South Jamaica and South Ozone Park.
After hitting the Uber — in which Olmo was riding in the back seat — Douglass’ BMW struck a Toyota Camry and then vaulted over a guardrail to the expressway service road, the sources said.
First responders saw Douglass sitting in the driver’s seat of the BMW when they got to the scene — but she later jumped into a Mercedes that pulled up to the wreckage, prosecutors said.
The driver of the Mercedes then tried to whisk Douglass away but was blocked in by emergency vehicles, according to the indictment. Douglass got out and took off running, prosecutors say.
Olmo, 77, a Williamsburg, Brooklyn resident, died at the scene.
The 38-year-old Uber driver and a 40-year-old man driving the Camry were both taken to Jamaica Hospital. The Uber driver also suffered severe injuries in the crash, the indictment reveals.
He had multiple fractures and a collapsed lung and suffered a stroke and brain bleed before being released into the care of his family several months after the crash.
Investigators suspect Douglass was drag racing when the crash occurred, but never recovered enough evidence to prove their theory, police sources said.
But NYPD Collision Investigation Squad detectives quickly identified Douglass as the owner of the BMW, which had expired New Jersey plates.
Douglass, who lives in Jamaica, was further linked to the fatal crash when police got a warrant for her DNA. which matched the DNA on the BMW’s exploded airbag, sources said. The indictment confirmed the details of the investigation.
A witness also identified Douglass as the woman who fled the scene, said a law enforcement source.
Olmo said his aunt worked as an administrator at Woodhull Hospital before retiring. The big-hearted woman was known as the family’s “interior decorator” and had a gift for revitalizing relatives’ homes.
“She was just loved by a lot of people, that’s all,” he said. “They had a eulogy where she lived. Everybody came from the building. Everybody talked about her. The things she’d done for them.”
NYPD Inspector Sylvester Ge, commanding officer of the NYPD Highway District, said he hopes more New Yorkers realize violence isn’t limited to shootings.
“I want to bring an awareness to the public that reckless driving and drag racing are dangerous and irresponsible,” Ge said.
“They could cause irreversible and devastating impact to innocent people just as gun violence would. Our CIS [Collision Investigation Squad] investigators are dedicated to holding those offenders accountable and bringing a small measure of closure to the victim’s family.”
Douglass’ attorney, Mitchell C. Elman, said he couldn’t comment on the case directly but noted that his client turned herself in voluntarily and had been “extremely cooperative during the investigation.”
Investigators used DNA recovered from her car’s airbag to refute Rodriguez-Lopez’s alibi in a 123-mph drag race crash on May 27 of this year. She also allegedly rear-ended an Uber, killing the passenger, and ran off. Hours later she filed a police report claiming her vehicle was stolen before the crash.