The man accused of striking a New York author with his car and then leaving her to die in the roadway had a “significant” amount of alcohol in his system at the time, prosecutors allege.
Albany County resident Nsikak Okure, age 34, of Guilderland, was arraigned on an 11-count indictment in Albany County Court on Monday, Nov. 21, including second-degree manslaughter, in the death of Tanisha Brathwaite.
The 31-year-old Brooklyn native was walking home at around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, when she was struck on Clinton Avenue near North Swan Street, according to Albany Police.
Brathwaite, who WNYT reports had just finished working her shift as a security guard at the state Capitol and was still in uniform, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Albany County prosecutors allege that Okure "recklessly operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of a significant amount of alcohol" when he caused her death.
Thirty-six minutes after Brathwaite was struck, Okure was involved in another alleged drunk driving crash near the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, according to the Albany Times Union. He reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, more than twice the legal limit to drive.
He is facing separate criminal charges for that crash.
In court Monday, Okure pleaded not guilty to all counts against him in Brathwaite's death, which also include aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting.
A judge ordered him jailed pending a bail hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 23. He is due back in court on Dec. 21.
In addition to her work as a security guard, Brathwaite was an aspiring author, having published her first novel, “Caught in the Storm,” under the pen name Tani Bee in 2018.
In her Amazon profile, the University at Albany graduate described herself as an up and coming author from Brooklyn who was working on additional novels.
Her sister, Tene Brathwaite, told the Times Union the family is relieved that a suspect is in custody and they can begin to see justice.
“I feel a little relief because we finally have some information,” the outlet quoted her as saying. “Of course, I’m still hurt because we can’t bring her back. But it feels a little better today.”
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