SI Driver Charged With Manslaughter for Killing Cyclist With Boat Trailer

A motorist was charged with manslaughter for the death of a Staten Island cyclist who was struck by a boat trailer that detached from a truck.

Alexa Cioffi. Photo via SI Advance
Alexa Cioffi. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Alexa Cioffi and her friend Briana Emanuele were riding on Hylan Boulevard at Redgrave Avenue on the afternoon of September 14, 2015, when the driver of an SUV, who was towing a boat, attempted to pass them on their left.

The trailer carrying the boat became unhitched from the truck and struck both victims. Emanuele, then 22, was injured, and Cioffi, who was 21, was killed.

Last month, District Attorney Michael McMahon charged Michael Khmil with manslaughter, homicide, misdemeanor assault, and reckless endangerment, according to court records.

From the Staten Island Advance:

According to the indictment, Khmil’s SUV was pulling a boat trailer with a maximum hauling capacity of 3,000 pounds, yet the boat weighed in excess of 4,000 pounds.

Khmil failed to secure the trailer to his SUV with chains and also failed to install a braking system on the trailer as prescribed by warning labels affixed to the trailer, contends the indictment.

As a result, the trailer detached from Khmil’s SUV and struck Cioffi and Emanuele while traveling at a speed exceeding 20 miles per hour, the indictment alleges.

Manslaughter, the top charge against Khmil, is a class C felony that carries penalties ranging from probation to 15 years in prison.

Khmil’s next scheduled court date is set for next week.

  • J

    Fail to secure boat trailer and kill someone?
    manslaughter, homicide, misdemeanor assault, and reckless endangerment charges

    Fail to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk and kill someone?

  • Flakker

    The SI advance had in fact referred to this incident as a “boating accident” in at least two articles in the past. Given the circumstances I don’t think this is an example of disparate treatment. Khmil had to spectacularly kill someone, and seriously injure her friend, to get to this point and the indictment still took months.

  • Want to hear something sad? The Staten Island Advance actually referred to this as a “boat accident” at one point.

    Want something sadder? The same paper actually has a columnist who implored the public not to let this easily preventable fatal crash to trigger a debate over bike lanes.

    Maybe the writers at the Advance would be ok if it fueled a debate over boating safety. If it got people talking about cycling safety, they might wind up with something outrageous like a bike lane.

  • Kevin Love

    Use a car to give NYPD officers injuries so minor that they are treated and immediately released from hospital?

    That is Attempted Murder.


  • You know what is sadder? Since 1975 over 20,000 dead by these defective trailers….. Go to dangeroustrailers DOT org. And know last week 4 more dead last week in Tennessee by one loose trailer….

  • Four dead by a loose trailer and my own government continues to destroy our cause. Wake up people since 1975 over 20,000 dead like this

    SPRING HILL, Tenn. — The search continues for a driver involved in a deadly crash. Tennessee Highway Patrol says John Wesley Bennett fled the Decatur scene when his dump truck trailer disconnected on the Highway 58 on Frida.
    Two cars with four people were struck and killed by the trailer (The victims in the crash are identified as Andrew Blackford, 38, of Murfreesboro; Samantha Norris, 37, of Maynardville; Christopher Denton, 36, of Dunlap; and Paula Stevens, 62, of Dunlap). One of the victim is a local musician.
    Andrew Blackford’s parents share their first Mother’s Day without their son.
    Most people plan for cards, flowers or phone calls on Mother’s Day. But Wanda Blackford is planning her 38-year-old son’s funeral on Sunday.
    Blackford says, “I’ll miss hearing him say ‘I love you mom. Happy Mother’s Day. I won’t hear that again.”
    Blackford’s son went by his stage name: Dru Blake. His parents say he was with his fiancé, a nurse, driving to visit them for Mother’s Day when the trailer got loose and crashed into them in Meigs County. There are multiple warrants out for Bennett’s arrest. THP says the 34-year-old is the truck driver responsible.
    Wanda and Milton Blackford say, “It’s absolutely stupid for the death of 4 people for by his irresponsibility. Senseless. Please turn yourself in. We know where our son is. He and his fiance went together which is the comforting part. We forgive him.”
    The couple of more than 40 years says, they’re holding on to what their son left. His music, which his father Milton Blackford helped him produce.
    “It’s going to be hard to listen to his CD for a while, because he was so talented. He played drums and this is his guitar, ” says his father.
    While Blake loved his music…his parents say he loved being a father even more. The grandparent’s say Blake’s daughter made a card for her dad a couple of weeks before he passed.
    “She says, Now that my daddy’s gone how am I going to get him the card. It’s going to be hard.The hurt cannot be described. any truck companies pulling trailers please have a safety program for drivers , ” says Wanda Blackford.
    Milton Blackford adds, “”All things work for good. We keep the Lord in the middle of all we do. His love and mercy is all you need to get through anything.”
    The THP stresses the importance of assisting our investigators to apprehend Bennett, we are asking for your help. The THP is also asking you to help us help the families whose hearts have been broken due Bennett’s actions.
    Anyone with any information is asked to call the Tennessee Highway Patrol at 1-800-305-2201 and request to speak with Sergeant Thomas W. Clower of THP’s Criminal Investigations Division.
    Blackford’s funeral is set for Thursday.
    The Blackford’s say their son will be buried next to their daughter who died at 10 months old.

  • neroden

    My God! They charged someone for reckless driving!

    This *shouldn’t be news* given how much reckless driving there is. But it is news. I’m glad they actually did their jobs for once!

  • neroden

    If I were that driver, I’d actually claim disparate enforcement and try to get the case thrown out on 14th Amendment grounds. There’s so much evidence that the NYPD never charges people for injuring non-cops with cars… that it’s clear they were violating the 14th amendment by only charging people who injure *cops*.


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