The nephew of model/actor Tyson Beckford has been hit with additional charges of second-degree murder after he was allegedly involved in a drunken joyride, which resulted in a fatal collision with a New York City bus.
Prosecutors claim Dominic Whilby had been kicked out of the Dream Downtown Hotel club on 12 February after partying with Beckford and Australian model Shanina Shaik, and allegedly stole a delivery van as he attempted to drive himself home.
He subsequently crashed into a transit bus, killing driver William Pena and injuring four others.
Whilby, who was also hospitalised with minor neck injuries, was arrested and charged with manslaughter, two counts of grand larceny, three counts of criminal assault, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
He appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, when Assistant District Attorney Randolph Clarke, Jr. filed upgraded charges of second-degree murder.
Whilby pleaded not guilty to all counts and claims to have no memory of the incident. He is being held without bail.
His attorney, Harvey Slovis, claims Beckford, who has yet to comment publicly about the tragedy, has been keeping in touch with his troubled nephew and has offered to take care of the 22 year old if he is granted bail.
Slovis says, "He (Beckford) has a great interest. I speak to him all the time. He's very remorseful because I guess he didn't see him leave".
If convicted of the charges, Whilby could face life in prison.
Meanwhile, the family of the crash victim has expressed interest in pursuing civil action, according to the New York Daily News.
The Pena family lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, says, "Right now we're focusing on the criminal accountability".