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Allegedly Drunk Driver Indicted on Manslaughter Charges After Chinatown Crash

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The 22-year-old man who crashed his car near the Manhattan Bridge last month, killing a teenage passenger, was indicted yesterday.

Gerald Joseph of Brooklyn appeared in court, pleading not guilty to second degree manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter charges. On the day after Christmas, prosecutors say, Joseph was racing across the bridge at 65 mph (the speed limit is 35). He lost control of the car on the Bowery, striking a light pole and fire hydrant. His friend, Shareef Bellerand, died in the crash. Joseph was allegedly driving drunk. His breathalyzer reading at 4:30 a.m. was .16, twice the legal limit.

According to the Daily News, Joseph didn’t even know there was a passenger in the car when police first spoke with him at 1:15 a.m. Defense attorney Chris DiLorenzo said his client was, “reacting after waking up… I don’t know if he was in any kind of state of mind to have an intelligent conversation with the police after that kind of accident.” DiLorenzo told the Post that the Bellerand and Joseph families are trying to help each other deal with the tragedy. “I think everyone is supportive of each other,” he said. “It’s a very sad situation.”

Joseph has been released on $50,000 bail.  The district attorney is recommending a sentence of 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison.

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