LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The family of a Long Island college student fought back tears as the driver accused of killing their daughter in November was formally charged.
The victim’s family says she planned to become a dentist in her Levittown community.
Taranjit Parmar was struck and killed by a suspect who fled the scene just blocks from her home. Five months after, her emotional family walked into a courtroom to face the accused.
“If you’re going to have a daughter, this is the one,” Taranjit’s father, Ranjit, said. “We were blessed.”
The indictment was made public as the suspect, 32-year-old Daniel Coppolo of Deer Park — an FDNY communications employee — was formally arraigned.
Days shy of her 19th birthday, the talented and brilliant Adelphi University student was slated to begin a four-year program at the NYU College of Dentistry when prosecutors say a red pickup truck hit her bumper in front of a gas station on Hempstead Turnpike near Gardiners Avenue.
Taranjit got out to exchange papers and called her mother on her cell, who heard her daughter’s final screams for help.
Friends ask how could a minor fender-bender result in such a horrible tragedy. Defense attorneys claim the FDNY dispatcher was on medical leave for mental health issues and failed to take his prescriptions.
His family declined comment.
“I can genuinely say the family and my client are very sympathetic to the loss of a child,” defense attorney Lawrence Carra said. “That is devastating and traumatic to everyone.”
Carra stopped short of saying his client fled the scene.
Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Michael Bushwick called Coppolo the “quintessential flight risk.”
“He fled the scene, evaded detection as long as he could,” Bushwick added.
The Parmar family says they plan on being in court every step of the way.