A Springfield Gardens man was indicted on manslaughter and drunk driving charges in connection with a 2020 fatal car crash in St. Albans that killed an off-duty NYPD officer, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Tuesday.
Kassun Brown, 31, of Nellis Street, was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise on an indictment charging him with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and failing to stop at a stop sign.
Brown was serving a sentence in a state prison for a separate crime when he was re-arrested on Tuesday, March 6 and charged in the death of NYPD Officer Michael Ellis of St. Albans, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
According to the charges, on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at approximately 11:58 p.m., Brown was allegedly driving a 2006 Nissan Maxima when he struck a vehicle at the intersection of Nashville Boulevard and Lucas Street in St. Albans. Video surveillance footage shows the car was proceeding southbound on Nashville Boulevard at a high rate of speed past a stop sign. Brown’s car struck a Nissan sedan traveling westbound on Lucas Street pushing the victim’s car into a clockwise spin before it hit two parked cars. The defendant’s car then veered southwest into a telephone pole.
EMS responded to the crash scene and rushed the gravely injured driver, 34-year-old Police Officer Michael Ellis, of St. Albans, to Jamaica Hospital Medical Central for treatment of traumatic brain injury, a broken neck and facial fractures. Brown was also transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center after the collision for treatment of a dislocated right ankle. A man who was a passenger in Brown’s car was also transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for treatment of a fractured femur.
Ellis, who was assigned to the 63rd Precinct in Brooklyn, succumbed to his injuries six weeks later and died on February 27.
“There is nothing more irresponsible and selfish than getting behind the wheel and driving under the influence,” Katz said. “Everyone with whom we share the road deserves our respect and consideration and has every right to reach their destination safely. The defendant is alleged to have been driving while intoxicated and will be held to account for the tragic consequences of that decision, the senseless death of an NYPD officer.”
Justice Aloise ordered Brown to return to court on April 26. If convicted, Brown faces up to 7 ½ to 15 years in prison.