Devesh Samtani, a student of Indian descent, was 18 years old when he was struck by a vehicle in the United States, Hamptons last year. Samtani’s family, who reside in Hong Kong, had made preparations to enrol him in the economics programme at New York University, but that did not happen.
On August 11, 2021, Samtani and his cousin Kabir Kurani left a party and were attempting to order an Uber to take them to the latter’s house when an SUV abruptly drove over Samtani and rushed off into the dark. Kurani hurried his cousin to the hospital, but two days later he passed away.
Lawyer Edward Burke Jr. extended heartfelt sympathies to the Samtani family outside Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverside on behalf of his client, the offender in a hit-and-run incident in August that resulted in the death of Devesh Samtani, a Hong Kong teenager visiting this neighbourhood on vacation.
Daniel Campbell, 20, was charged with an upgraded felony charge of fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in death by Justice Richard Ambro. Leaving the scene of an accident, also a felony with significant harm was the initial charge.
The incident occurred in Amagansett, near Timber Trail, where police had recently dispersed a grand house party, on a congested, dark stretch of Old Stone Highway. Near the point where the road twists at Eastwood Court, Mr. Samtani was strolling down the side of the street.
Town police said that after hitting him, Mr. Campbell stopped approximately 100 feet away to inspect the front of his father’s Honda Pilot, which was carrying nine people, before driving away.
Witnesses provided the police with the licence plate number of the car, and they used it to find the driver and locate his family’s home in Montauk. Mr. Campbell dropped off his sister and the other passengers, all females between the ages of 15 and 18 before police arrived to interrogate him. He then went to the beach to meet a friend.
In a written statement to the police, he said, “When I looked at the damage, I thought I killed him. If I had the chance to do it over again, he wrote, I would have stayed on the side of the road and called the police.”
The prosecution moved forward with Mr. Campbell’s confession as well as a filmed admission and other evidence, including a search of his smartphone, according to Ray Varuolo, the associate county district attorney who was prosecuting the case. The prosecutor said that Mr. Campbell’s search after the collision indicated that he was looking for bus and rail schedules near Long Island.
In lieu of jail time, the judge informed Mr. Campbell at a plea hearing on August 5 at the Arthur M. Cromarty Criminal Court Complex in Riverside that he intended to sentence him to six months of community service and five years of probation. Mr. Campbell entered a plea of guilty to one count of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in Mr. Samtani’s death.
The judge’s assurance to Mr. Campbell shocked and confused the Samtani family, who had flown from Hong Kong and other distant locations for the August hearing. The family has complained about the legal process several times, claiming that Judge Ambro’s sentence decisions did not take their opinions into consideration.
Campbell’s driving record has also come under scrutiny, according to a spokesperson for the Samtani family, who also confirmed that Benjamin Brafman, a high-profile defence lawyer, has been hired by the Samtani family.
Brafman stated that given Campbell’s admission of guilt, he does not anticipate a trial. He stated, “I think this is really about leaving the scene of an accident.” “I think this is an issue of a young person panicking after an accident. I think it is unfortunate that there is a serious tragedy he left the family to deal with for the rest of their lives,” he added.
According to Judge Ambro, the promise is dependent upon Mr. Campbell abiding by the law and appearing at the sentencing hearing, which was postponed from August 5 to September 22. Once more, the hearing was postponed and the defendant was not sentenced on Thursday.
As part of the plea agreement, Suffolk County prosecutors suggested that Mr. Ambro sentence Mr. Campbell to one to three years in state prison. On August 5, Mr. Ambro defied that advice by declaring in open court that Mr. Campbell would not get any prison time.
Prosecutors informed Judge Ambro about Mr. Campbell’s driving history when they recommended a sentence, according to the Suffolk County D.A. ‘s office. It is unclear if the judge will break his commitment to keeping the defendant out of jail given that he is ostensibly already aware of the defendant’s driving history.