A Brooklyn DJ whose drunken joy ride allegedly killed a pedestrian and destroyed two businesses under the Queensboro Bridge now faces up to 25 years in prison.
Grant Riddell, 38, was indicted on charges of drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and three counts of vehicular assault in connection with the March 28, 2011 incident.
Around 4 a.m., Riddell was driving his red 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit on the Queens-bound off-ramp of the outer roadway of the bridge when he struck the guardrail at the intersection of Queens Plaza South and Crescent Street. The car flipped over and slid across the street, striking and killing Anthony Buscemi Jr., 68, who was walking on the sidewalk.
Riddell’s vehicle also crashed with into two businesses on Queens Plaza South — the Villa De Beaute Salon and Espinal’s Caribbean Restaurant — causing significant damage.
Front-seat passenger Melissa Cohen suffered severe head and body trauma, a broken right ankle, broken pelvis and a collapsed lung in the accident. According to reports, Riddell, who goes by the DJ pseudonym K1W1, lost his left arm.
After being taken to the hospital, the defendant’s blood was drawn and tested, indicating he had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent at the time of the crash. Riddell admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages prior to operating his vehicle. Records also showed the defendant did not have a valid New York State license to operate a motor vehicle.
At Riddell’s December 13 court appearance, his lawyer submitted a plea of not guilty.
According to published reports, the owners of the damaged businesses have filed a $1 million lawsuit against Riddell and the city, citing poor construction of the ramp. Within 10 days, two cars crashed into the salon. The business owners could not be reached for comment as of press time.