News Queens Teenager Faces 25 Years in Prison for Car Crash that Killed 4 Friends   Email this page
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A Queens teenager who crashed his car on a Long Island highway last month, killing four of his friends, now faces 25 years in prison after testing positive for marijuana, authorities said Nov. 16.
Joseph Beer, 17, a freshman at the Vaughn College of Aeronautics in Queens, was handcuffed and escorted to court six weeks after surrendering to police after crashing his car on the Southern State Parkway. He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, four counts of manslaughter, driving under the influence, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Supreme Court Justice David Ayres refused to unshackle the student during his appearance and doubled the bail requested by prosecutors, ordering $1 million cash or $2 million bond due to the seriousness of multiple felony charges, the New York Daily News reported.“He was driving a souped-up 305-horsepower sports car at more than twice the legal speed limit while he was high on marijuana,” the paper quoted Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice as saying.

Chris Munzing, spokesperson from Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office told Desi Talk that Joseph Beer is due to appear in court again on Dec. 11. He declined to further comment on the case. A spokesperson from Vaughn College of Aeronautics also declined to comment on the case or describe Joseph Beer.

The parents the Richmond Hill High School graduate have also been charged with unlicensed operation of a vehicle and face up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. Prosecutors say Aaditia and Patricia Beer allowed their son to drive even though he only had a learner’s permit which prohibited him from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., reported. The couple reportedly had bought their son the notoriously fast car for performing well in school. According to local news reports, Joseph Beer, of Guyanese origin, lost control of his2012 Subaru Impreza on the Southern State Parkway at about 3:40 a.m. on Oct. 8.The car launched into a wooded area and split in two after striking a tree. The four passengers - Darian Ramnarine, 18; Peter Kanhai, 18; Chris Kahn, 18; and Neal Rajapa, 17 - were all tossed from the car and died. CBS News described the five as college-bound boyhood friends who knew each other from Richmond Hill High School.

Prosecutors said a blood sample, taken from Beer two hours after the crash, tested positive for marijuana, the Daily News reported. He was taken to Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. According to state police, Joseph Beer was the only of the five occupants to have been wearing his seat belt. At the trial, Rice said Joseph Beer had made poor judgments, and, as a result, four teens and an entire community had suffered. Defense Attorney Todd Greenberg told Desi Talk that he has requested his client be placed in the jail’s protective custody wing and receive a medical evaluation.“He is very, very distraught about the death of his four very close friends,” Greenberg said. “This is an accident,” he said, adding, “All accidents do not mean or result in criminal acts.” At the trial Aaditia Beer sat silently beside his wife Patricia, who wept openly when her son’s name was called. According the New York Post, she later blasted prosecutors for trying to pin the blame on her and her husband. “It’s not like we give him the key and say, ‘Go kill somebody,’ ” she told The Post.“Nobody wants their kids to go out there in the middle of the night without your consent.”

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