Man sentenced for fatal drunk driving crash on Gowanus Expressway

police say the suspect was drunk.
Getty Images

A man will spend years behind bars after drunkenly crashing his car on the Gowanus Expressway and killing the passenger sitting in the front seat. 

Mark Dookhan, a 32-year-old Staten Island resident, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully after he pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter in December. 

According to prosecutors, Dookhan was driving on the Gowanus Expressway at around 75 miles per hour in March 2021, when he smashed the vehicle into the back of a tractor trailer stopped in traffic near the entrance to the Verrazano Bridge.

The District Attorney’s office said that he had only begun pressing on the car’s brakes less than one second before his car collided with the truck. 

While Dookhan survived the incident, 30-year-old Kareen Diaz, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the BMW Sudan, died as a result of the crash. 

Dookhan suffered only minor injuries, and paramedics took him to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn — but not before investigators performed a breathalyzer test, which registered a blood alcohol level of 0.12. The legal limit is 0.08. 

The defendant pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter in December 2022.

After the sentence was handed down, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez called Dookhan’s actions “reckless” and blasted his decision to drive while drunk.  

“This defendant’s reckless decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol cost an innocent woman her life and endangered many others,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “He has now been held accountable for his criminal conduct. I remain committed to keeping Brooklyn’s streets safe for all people.”

Around 17,000 people die from drunk driving-related incidents each year.