CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island - A Queens man convicted of causing a fiery crash on the Southern State Parkway in 2015 that killed a 37-year-old father and his two children received the maximum prison sentence Tuesday.
Oniel Sharpe Jr., 26, was sentenced to the maximum on all counts, totaling 12 to 36 years in prison.
He was found guilty in February of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter in the second degree, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and tampering with evidence.
Sharpe was driving a BMW SUV that rear-ended the Queens family's Toyota RAV4 in July 2015, causing it to burst into flames near exit 41 South of the Southern State Parkway.
The accident killed Ancio Ostane and his children, 8-year-old Andy and 4-year-old Sephora.
The lone survivor of the crash left the courthouse after speaking only briefly at his sentencing.
But in a remarkable display of courage after enduring the tragedy, Lucnie BOuaz-Ostane spoke directly to Sharpe, telling him she pitied him.
"You could be my nephew," she explained. But prosecutors and the judge showed far less sympathy for the young man who was racing down the Southern State Parkway that night, causing the deadly mess.
"And the judge described it best of all. I mean this man watched, as a family burned to death," said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
In fact cell phone video presented at the trial shows what Sharpe did.. He tossed a bottle of tequila, Petron, which he had in his car, away from the crime scene and then went into hiding for nearly 4 hours before he was finally arrested.
Meanwhile, all but one in the family from St. Albans, Queens was screaming for their lives.
"I don't know if the video portrayed the actual screams of this family trying to get out of the car," said Spota. "And what did he do? He was throwing the evidence of this crime away."
In his defense Sharpe's attorney tried to explain how he now lectures kids at the jail about driving recklessly.
The attorney added: "He won't ask for forgiveness because he does not forgive himself for what happened that night."
But in the end the judge said it is simply not OK to use Suffolk County's roads as a racetrack.
And the DA hopes the sentence sends a message to others as well.
"And look at the horrible tragedy that occurred as a result of it," said Spota.