New York, June 8 (IANS) An appeals court in the US has unanimously rejected the bail plea of an Indian-origin driver who allegedly slammed his truck into a car killing two 14-year-old boys on the spot and injuring two others last month in New York.
Prosecutors at a Brooklyn appeals court said new evidence showed that defendant Amandeep Singh, 34, was driving almost 100 mph while drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the accident, a Newsday report said.
Singh, charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter, two counts each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault, leaving the scene of an auto accident with a fatality and driving while intoxicated, did not appear in the court.
Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Michael Bushwack told the court last week that the toxicology reports taken four hours after the mishap found Singh had a 0.15 blood alcohol level — nearly double the legal limit.
Arguing against his bail, prosecutors said they’ve also obtained receipts and security cameras that showed Singh was drinking at two bars before the crash, along with surveillance video from the scene of the accident, the Newsday reported.
That evidence, along with Singh’s significant financial resources, multiple passports and extensive international travel, make him a serious flight risk, the court was told.
Citing that his client is “not going to flee” and is not a flight risk, Defence attorney James Kousouros suggested $1 million bail and home confinement with GPS monitoring and said that Singh would surrender both his American and Indian passports.
He told the court that Singh, married with two kids, has a successful contracting business that employs 35 full-time workers and has contracts to work on local schools.
Bushwack disputed the defense’s argument, saying Singh attempted to flee in the moments after the fatal crash, as law enforcement found him hiding near a dumpster in a shopping centre parking lot.
“The flight from the scene is concerning and it strongly suggests that if released on bail, the defendant is likely to flee again rather than return to court,” Associate Justice Valerie Brathwaite Nelson said after hearing the arguments.
Singh was driving his 2019 Dodge Ram south in the northbound lanes on North Broadway in Jericho when he smashed into a 2019 Alfa Romeo four-door sedan with four male teens inside, Nassau County Police said.
Police said that the pickup truck went airborne, spinning, and landing 300 feet away.
According to Newsday, when police first questioned Singh at the scene, he was so intoxicated that he “thought he was in New Jersey”.
While two teens — identified as Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz — were pronounced dead at the scene, the other two, aged 16 and 17, were taken to a local hospital for treatment of injuries.
Singh had previously been convicted of a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and gang assault as a teenager.