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A Corona man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly doused a Fresh Meadows couple’s home with gasoline and lit it on fire, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Vipan Chander, 49, of Corona, is accused of torching the apartment on 64th Avenue in Fresh Meadows around 3 p.m. Sept. 15, the DA said. Victims Parven and Ram Shandal, both from India, told police they caught the man looking through their window and proceeded to smell gasoline, according to the DA.
Parven Shandal said she then saw Chander reach through her window with a lighter and set the window and blinds on fire.
The couple was able to extinguish the blaze and neither was hurt in the fire. When fire officials went to the home to investigate the blaze, one of the victims saw Chander drive by the house. Though Chander immediately drove off, the officials managed to take down the Corona man’s license plate number.
Chander has been charged with two counts of attempted murder, second-degree arson, second-degree assault and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the Queens DA.
Police tracked down Chander at the intersection of 66th Road and the Grand Central Parkway later that evening after the fire and pulled him over. As a policeman approached his car, Chander struck the policeman with his vehicle, proceeded to reverse his car and slammed into the policeman’s patrol car, the DA said. The policeman suffered bruises and substantial pain and was treated at a local hospital, Brown said.
When another policeman attempted to place Chander under arrest, Chander wrestled the cop, causing “substantial pain” to the policeman’s shoulder, according to the DA. The policeman was also sent to the hospital.
A fire marshal told police he recovered an empty can that had a strong odor of gasoline from Chander’s car, the DA said. Additionally, the marshal said he recovered half a bottle of whiskey and a black wrench from Chander’s vehicle.
According to police, Chander’s breath smelled like alcohol and he had “bloodshot, watery eyes.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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