Queens man jailed for manslaughter in connection to fatal Crown Heights crash

The intersection of Crown Street and Nostrand Avenue where the March 13 crash occurred in Crown Heights.
The intersection of Crown Street and Nostrand Avenue where the March 13, 2023 crash occurred.
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A 25-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to three to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter. The charges arose from a 2023 incident in Crown Heights, where he sped through red lights, crashed into another vehicle, and killed a man, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

Elijah Lucaine, of Cambria Heights, Queens, was sentenced July 2 by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joanne Quinones, having previously pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter on May 15 in connection with the death of 56-year-old David Ellis.

According to the district attorney’s office, Lucaine was driving a 2015 white Infiniti Q50 on March 13, 2023, when police observed him running multiple red lights, speeding, and swerving in and out of oncoming traffic near Eastern Parkway and Bergen Street at about 4:35 p.m.

When he reached the southwest corner of Crown Street and Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights at 4:45 p.m., Lucaine ran a red light at 70 mph in a 25 mph zone, t-boning a black Acura driven by Ellis.

The 56-year-old was trapped in his car after the collision, leaving first responders to cut off the door. Paramedics rushed him to Kings County Hospital with a leg fracture, rib fractures and a lung contusion. He died five days later from blunt force trauma sustained in the crash.

The father-of-one was eulogized as a “one-of-a-kind” person who had a talent for entertaining and spreading laughter amongst his friends.

David had an enormous heart, and was the go to person for his friends that migrated to the US from Trinidad, he opened his heart and his doors and housed them all into his one room space,” Eliss’ online obituary reads. 

Surveillance footage of the incident shows an NYPD cruiser coming into the frame moments after the Infiniti and Acura collided, however, a police spokesperson claimed that cops had not been in pursuit of Lucaine at the time of the collision.

Cops originally charged Lucaine with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, operating a vehicle without insurance, number plate violation, and failure to obey traffic signals — leaving any further accusatory decisions to Gonzalez’s office.

On June 12, he was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court, where the DA’s office charged him with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and a host of other infractions following Ellis’ death.

“This defendant’s reckless decision to speed and disobey traffic lights cost an innocent man his life and endangered many others,” Gonzalez said in a statement after Lucaine’s sentencing. “He has now been held accountable for his criminal conduct. I remain committed to keeping Brooklyn’s streets safe for all people.”