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The South Richmond Hill teen who lost control of his souped-up car on a Nassau County highway in a deadly crash last month allegedly had marijuana in his system and has been charged with the deaths of his four friends, the Nassau district attorney announced.
Joseph Beer, 17, allegedly tested positive for marijuana just hours after the 2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI he was driving at speeds more than 110 miles per hour careened off the Southern State Parkway in the early morning hours of Oct. 8, ripping the car in half, DA Kathleen Rice said.
Darian Ramnarine, Peter Kanhai, Neal Rajapa and Christopher Kahn were thrown from the vehicle and killed. Beer was driving on a learner’s permit and was not supposed to be behind the wheel between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Rice said he suffered only minor injuries.
“The sheer magnitude of this tragedy is unthinkable, and it could have easily been avoided if this defendant had simply made the right choice to drive sober and drive safely,” the district attorney said. “Instead, we have four promising young lives cut short, another young man facing years in prison, and families that will forever be torn apart by this horrific crash.”
The DA said a blood sample taken from the young man two hours after the crash tested positive for marijuana.
Beer was charged with four counts each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, as well as one count each of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and driving a vehicle without a license, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed last week.
Rice said Beer faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Beer’s parents, Patricia and Aadita Beer, were also hit with an unlicensed driver charge for allegedly, knowingly allowing their son to drive without a license, for which they face up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $300, according to Rice.
Beer is next due in Nassau County court Dec. 11.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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