What started as a minor mishap became deadly on the Long Island Expressway on May 23, as two young people were killed nearly Old Westbury.
According to Nassau County police, 20-year-old Yousef Shaker, of Ridgewood in Queens, was driving a BMW between exits 39 and 40 around 11 pm, traveling westbound. Shaker apparently struck the right guardrail, causing him to shoot back across traffic, across the median and come to rest at a concrete divider. The four occupants of the BMW then got out to determine how much damage the vehicle had sustained. Shortly thereafter, Shaker and a passenger, 18-year-old Lauren Stepham, of Salem, New York, were hit by a GMC Yukon driven by an off-duty NYPD officer. Shaker was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and Stepham died at a local hospital. Two other passengers in the BMW, an 18-year-old female and a 19-year-old male, were treated for injuries at the hospital. The NYPD officer also sustained minor injuries.
Police say it was raining at the time of the accident, which may have initially caused Shaker to lose control of his vehicle. The NYPD officer submitted to a blood alcohol test, which authorities say was negative.
Police speculate that, when Shaker struck the guardrail, the lights on the BMW stopped working, so that the NYPD officer had little or no warning of the presence of the vehicle. Police have impounded both vehicles as part of an ongoing investigation.
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