From Newsday, Aug. 23:
Drunk driver kills Good Samaritan
On the day he planned to go house-hunting with his family, an immigrant livery driver from Azerbaijan was killed in Brooklyn while trying to assist a colleague with a stalled car — mowed down by a vehicle whose driver was drunk, police said.
Rafael Rafailov, 50, a man known for his eagerness to help friends in need, died at the scene near the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue in the Kensington section at about 1:20 a.m., authorities said.
Police said Rafailov had been headed south on the Prospect Expressway and stopped his white Lincoln Town Car to assist another livery driver when a 2007 Toyota Camry struck him.
The driver of the Toyota, Alexey Bushuyev, 22, of Manhattan Terrace, was arrested on charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and drunk driving, investigators said.
Bushuyev’s breath-alcohol test showed a blood-alcohol level of .11 percent, a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said. A level above .08 percent is considered evidence of driving while intoxicated.
“Oh my God!” said Rafailov’s anguished daughter Regina Rafailov, 20, a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who talked with reporters outside the family’s home in Sheepshead Bay.
“Who goes 160 miles per hour on Ocean Parkway?”
Late Wednesday, police did not have an estimate on the speed of Bushuyev’s vehicle. The DA’s spokesman said Bushuyev was charged with speeding along with the other offenses. He was awaiting arraignment.
“I say it is murder,” said Ronald Valachi, chairman of Concord Limousine Inc. of Brooklyn, where Rafailov worked for more than 12 years. “Instead of using a loaded gun, he used alcohol and a vehicle.”
Rafailov had plans to go house-hunting yesterday with his family in Brooklyn and Staten Island, Valachi said.
He was finishing up a 10-hour workday when he got a telephone call from fellow driver Leonid Ladyko, who said he was stalled on Ocean Parkway. Rafailov drove to the spot and tried to give Ladyko a jump start, Valachi said.
In the minutes that Rafailov was giving assistance, Bushuyev plowed his vehicle into both Rafailov’s and Ladyko’s limousines, as well as another car on the roadway, police said. Employees at Concord Limousine said Rafailov was in between his car and Ladyko’s, handling jumper cables, when the crash occurred.
Rafailov had completed eight jobs on his shift yesterday and had dropped off his last client at about 11:15 p.m. in Manhattan before returning to Brooklyn, said Dorothy Santero, an employee at Concord Limousine.
“He was probably going home again,” Santero said.
Friends and colleagues said that Rafailov, who emigrated from Israel in 1993, was a loving family man.
“I loved him like my father,” said Nurad Kuliyev, 30, Rafailov’s son-in-law. “He was always there for you, no matter what time of day.”
Kuliyev married Rafailov’s daughter, Michelle, about two months ago. He said his father-in-law staged a big wedding fete in Sheepshead Bay.
“He’s somebody who always took care of this family. The family meant the most to him,” Kuliyev said.
At Concord Limousine, photocopied pictures of Rafailov were pasted all over the company office. Valachi, who said the company has about 800 drivers on its roster, said another of the firm’s drivers was killed eight months ago. In that hit-and-run incident, the driver was struck while changing a flat tire, he said.
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