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East Village Deli Worker Hit by Allegedly Drunken Driver Dies

By Serena Solomon | January 15, 2014 8:53am | Updated on January 15, 2014 1:10pm
 Akkas Ali died more than six months after he was hit by an allegedly drunken driver in the East Village.
Akkas Ali Dies After Crash
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EAST VILLAGE — An East Village deli worker severely injured by an allegedly drunk and drugged up driver last June has died.

Akkas Ali's Jan. 1 death, almost six months after he was left in a coma following the accident, has been labeled an accident by the city's medical examiner. He went into cardiac arrest when a tracheostomy tube that he needed to help him breathe because of his injuries became lodged in his throat, the medical examiner's office said.

Ali was working in the flower shop outside East Village Farm & Grocery at Second Avenue and East Fourth Street on June 19 when police said driver Shaun Martin slammed into him, injuring two other staff members and a cyclist.

Ali, who was 62 and lived in the East Village at the time of the crash, was rushed to the hospital with brain injuries and a broken leg and ankle.

In the weeks following the accident, Ali was in a coma, but his wife and sons clung to the hope that he would recover, particularly after he momentarily opened his eyes in July.

He died in Queens, but it was not immediately clear if he was in a medical facility or staying with family.

The medical examiner's report concluded that the mishap with the tracheostomy tube occurred "during the management of blunt impact injuries" caused by the crash.

Chad Marlow, who sits on Community Board 3's transportation committee, helped raise almost $20,000 for Ali's family to cover medical costs and lost income.

"I am personally heartbroken for the family. I was really hoping for a better ending for them," Marlow wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York.

He said 300 New Yorkers made donations to cover Ali's medical expenses.

Following the crash, Martin was charged with vehicular assault, driving while high and intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said they found the drug PCP stashed in his sock, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal complaint.

Martin is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 21.