The driver who killed an East Village bodega worker in 2013 while drunk and high was sentenced by a judge yesterday to 20 years to life.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson reportedly chastised the driver, 35-year-old Shaun Martin, for crying several times in court. "Those are choices you made, Mr. Martin, and there's no doubt they've come back to haunt you," she said.
In 2013, Martin crashed into the East Village Farm And Grocery bodega at East 4th Street and Second Avenue, killing 62-year-old Mohammad Akkas Ali and injuring two other workers.
Martin was drunk and high on meth and PCP at the time of the crash and was driving over 50 miles per hour when he cut across three lanes of traffic and drove onto a sidewalk. His vehicle smashed through a fire hydrant, a pay phone, a parking meter, a tree, and the flower stand outside the bodega.
After the crash, Martin was reportedly so high that he asked police officers, "Am I dead?" Cops found marijuana stashed in his sock after the collision, and EMT workers found a Ziploc bag of PCP there, too.
He also hit Ali, a florist from Bangladesh who worked the overnight shift at the bodega seven nights a week; his two coworkers; and debris from the crash struck a nearby cyclist. Ali died from his injuries six months later in a nursing home—Martin's attorney, Arthur Aidala, argued that he had died because his breathing tube was dislodged, not from injuries related to the collision.
During the trial, Ali's son Rukanul Islam told the judge that his father had been planning on retiring soon. "He worked all his life and just before the accident, he told me that he wouldn't be working anymore. He said he would be retiring in two months," Islam said.
According to the Post, Aidala asked the judge to impose the minimum sentence—15 years to life—citing Martin's alleged mental issues and debilitating drug addiction and now plans to appeal the sentence.