A taxi cab driver from Elmont was killed in a violent car crash by an alleged drunken driver on Hempstead Turnpike near Lincoln Road in Franklin Square early Saturday morning, Nassau County police said.
According to police, Duke Obule, 23, of Queens, was speeding in a 2016 BMW when he struck the taxi, a 2009 Chevrolet, driven by the 47-year-old victim. The collision pushed the cab from the left eastbound lane across two westbound lanes and onto the sidewalk of Lincoln Road, where it struck a power pole. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:24 a.m.
Obule fled the scene following the accident, but was located at Hempstead Turnpike and Evans Avenue and placed under arrest at 5:22 a.m. He had a 20-year-old female passenger in the car, who was transported to a local hospital for treatment of a broken left ankle.
According to court documents, Obule had a blood-alcohol level of .16, which is twice the legal limit. Police also noted that he had glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol when he spoke with them following the crash.
Obule, who does not have a driver’s license, pleaded not guilty in First District Court in Hempstead on Sunday to a slew of charges against him, including vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, and vehicular assault.
Obule has had run-ins with the law before. He was arrested on April 21, 2012, after allegedly using stolen credit cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of gift cards while he was employed at the Macy’s at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.
The victim, whom police had not identified at press time, was a driver for Ollie’s Taxi & Airport Service, and was beginning his shift when he was killed. “This poor man’s life was cut short within minutes of starting his day,” Marianne Blessinger, the owner and president of the taxi company, said in a statement. “I hope this criminal is prosecuted to the fullest extent. Drunk driving is intolerable and unacceptable. This driver will be sorely missed and remembered by all of us …”
Obule is due back in court on May 4.