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Drunk Driver Who Posed as Passenger in Fatal Richmond Hill Crash Charged With Vehicular Manslaughter

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April 26, 2021 By Allie Griffin

An alleged drunk driver who plowed into two cars in Richmond Hill last week—killing a passenger—has been charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Harpreet Singh, 20, allegedly got behind the wheel of a 2018 Honda Accord while intoxicated, ran a red light and struck one car and then another early Wednesday morning. His front-seat passenger, 23-year-old Suraj Kumar, was killed in the crash.

Singh, of 118th Street in Richmond Hill, told police officers at the crash scene that he was a passenger in the car and gave them a phony name of the supposed driver, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

A witness provided police with a different account, and a subsequent investigation found that Singh— who was unlicensed—was driving the Honda Accord on Atlantic Avenue when he allegedly ran a red light at 111th Street and struck a Ford pick-up truck at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

He continued driving and moments later crashed into a Mercedes Benz GLA250 on Atlantic Avenue, Katz said.

Responding officers found Kumar with extensive head and body injuries in the front passenger seat of the Honda Accord. He was unresponsive and rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:25 a.m.

Meanwhile, Singh told the officers at the scene of the crash that he had been in the back seat of the Honda during the collisions and gave them a fake name. He also gave the name of a person who didn’t exist as the driver and left the scene to go to the hospital without admitting he was the one behind the wheel, Katz said.

A witness identified Singh as the driver. He was arraigned late Wednesday night in Queens Criminal Court on a five-count complaint charging him with vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting injury or death, criminally negligent homicide, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license.

“Without a license and allegedly intoxicated, the defendant had no business getting behind the wheel of a vehicle,” Katz said in a statement. “As a result of that selfish decision, a young man’s life has been cut short and two other motorists are lucky to be alive.”

He is due back in court today and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

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