A hit-and-run collision that claimed the life of 18-year-old Shanti Joyner in Brooklyn was the result of reckless driving, according to prosecutors with the Brooklyn district attorney’s office who recovered surveillance footage of the suspect speeding through a red light.
East New York resident Kashawn Croswell, 25, was arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Supreme Court on charges including second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and leaving the scene of an accident, court documents show.
Prosecutors alleged that Croswell was behind the wheel of a 2014 Mercedes Benz S550 spotted on surveillance speeding south along Court St. in Downtown Brooklyn at 3:25 a.m. when he plunged through a red light at Atlantic Ave.
Croswell’s car slammed into the front passenger side of a 2019 Honda Accord driven by Shanti’s sister, Iesha Joyner, 32, as the pair headed west along Atlantic Ave. on their way home from working a late-night shift at a nearby bar, according to police.
Witnesses said the high-speed crash put the Joyner sisters’ sedan into a tailspin.
“The Mercedes-Benz was going very fast,” said Murat Sonkya, who was working at a nearby fruit stand. “I heard the crash.”
Rescuers discovered Shanti bleeding and unconscious in the Honda’s front passenger seat after the crash. Paramedics rushed her to New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, where she died.
Prosecutors claim that footage shows Croswell and a 24-year-old passenger emerge from the flaming wreckage of the Mercedes, before hightailing it on foot. Police stopped the pair a short distance from the scene and cuffed Croswell after discovering the keys to the Mercedes in his pockets, prosecutors say.
Police also cuffed Iesha Joyner at the scene, charging her with driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by alcohol, cops said.
Croswell is being held on $250,000 bail following his Saturday arraignment. His family is working to bail him out, the brother said.
His mother voiced dismay at the courtroom developments.
“I just don’t understand how my son, who has no criminal record and was not intoxicated, ended up in jail and the driver who was intoxicated did not,” she told the Daily News on Monday.
“To set bail at an amount that is in no way feasible. Saying he’s a flight risk makes me believe it’s only because he’s a young Black man,” she added.
The mom, who gave her name as Ms. Croswell, said her family was devastated to learn of Shanti’s death but insisted that the collision that claimed her life was nothing more than an accident.
“We all feel horrible someone lost their life,” she said. “It was an accident — who was at fault wasn’t determined.”
Croswell is a graduate of Brooklyn’s High School for Civil Rights, where he played cornerback on the football team, according to ESPN.
The defendant’s Mercedes-Benz had a Florida license plate with a motorized frame that can bring down a cover to obscure the plate when passing electronic plate readers at toll booths.
The motorized license plate covers, sold on Amazon.com for $75 to $100, are illegal in New York and New Jersey, but growing in popularity.
On July 2, Croswell was charged in Queens with reckless driving after cops clocked him driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone near the intersection of North Conduit Ave. and Baisley Blvd., just north of Kennedy Airport.
A complaint in Queens Criminal Court also charged him with possession of a forged credit card.
Shanti, a recent graduate of Port Richmond High School, leaves behind a 1-year-old daughter, the sisters’ mother Jeanette Perez said on Saturday.
“Life changes very quickly before we know it,” the devastated mom told the Daily News as she sat by Iesha’s hospital bed.