MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Queens teenager accused of speeding when he crashed on Long Island and killed four friends was charged on Friday.
Joseph Beer, 17, 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.
Beer’s parents, Patricia and Aaditia, sobbed quietly on Friday, but said nothing. They, too, could face some jail time.
1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa Reports
The indictment was unsealed by a grand jury, charging that the Queens teenager was impaired by marijuana and took his friends on a high-speed Columbus Day joyride in his new, high-performance Subaru Impreza.
Beer climbed in behind the wheel illegally having only a learner’s permit and by the time he reached the curve at Exit 17, the accelerator was floored, allegedly reaching speeds of 110 mph.
It is alleged the sports coupe slammed into trees and split in half, ejecting all five teenagers. Beer’s four passengers were killed instantly.
Christopher Khan, Neal Rajaba, Darian Ramnarine, Peter Kanhai were all Queens, college-bound boyhood friends who knew each other from Richmond Hill High School.
Beer attended Vaughn College of Aeronautics near LaGuardia Airport.
“He is very, very distraught about the death of his four very close friends,” defense attorney Todd Greenberg said. “This is an accident. All accidents do not mean or result in criminal acts.”
The emotional funerals were heart wrenching for the close-knit communities. The young victims were bright, energetic and talented.
The district attorney asked for $500,000 bond, but the judge raised it to $2 million due to the seriousness of multiple felony charges.
“He was driving a souped-up 305-horsepower sports car at more than twice the legal speed limit while he was high on marijuana,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
And now, Rice said Beer’s parents face criminal accountability, possibly 15 days in jail and a fine of $150, for knowingly allowing their son to drive without a license.
Beer’s attorney requested his client be placed in the jail’s protective custody wing and receive a medical evaluation.
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