GCP drunk driver gets up to 7 years in prison

A memorial is set up on the Grand Central Parkway for Frank Avino, an electrician with the Welsbach Electric Corp. in College Point, after Avino was struck and killed in a DWI accident.
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The boozed-up driver who killed a highway worker on the Grand Central Parkway early one morning last year will spend at least 28 months in prison after he was sentenced Tuesday, the Queens district attorney said.

Abdullah Munshi, 26, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in January when he admitted to careening down the highway the morning of July 10 in a 2002 Audi A6 after spending the night drinking.

Frank Avino, a 63-year-old electrician with the Welsbach Electric Corp. in College Point, was laying out cones on the parkway in order to close one of the lanes so he could work on a streetlight.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Munshi veered into the lane where Avino was working near the Jewel Avenue exit in Forest Hills, tossing his body up into the air. Avino, a Long Island resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

State Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt sentenced Munshi Tuesday to 2 1/3 years to seven years in prison.

“The sentence imposed today — which is the maximum allowed under the law — is more than justified,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant’s decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol and to speed through a construction site tragically caused the death of an innocent man who was simply doing his job.”

Munshi has been in jail since he was arraigned in July, unable to post his $350,000 bail and will be subject to a three-year conditional discharge when he is released from state prison.

In addition to his prison term, the young man will be required to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he owns or drives for a period of five years after his release.

Brown said investigators at the scene of the crash determined that Munshi was driving 58 mph in a 50 mph zone, and the impact shattered the Audi’s windshield. Police said he had bloodshot eyes and a strong smell of alcohol on his breath.

Munshi, who was unable to produce a valid New York driver’s license, said in a statement made to police that he had been drinking between midnight and 3 a.m., and was driving that morning because his friends were too drunk to drive, Brown said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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