NBC 4 New York
The young driver from Queens who survived the horrific Long Island crash that killed his four close friends riding in the car is out of the hospital. Andrew Siff reports.
The young driver from Queens who survived the horrific Long Island crash that killed his four close friends riding in the car is out of the hospital.
Joseph Beer, 17, was released from Winthrop University Hospital Tuesday night. There was no sign of anyone at his family's home in Richmond Hill Wednesday.
Beer was behind the wheel when he failed to negotiate a curve on the Southern State Parkway and crashed his late-model Subaru Imprezza into trees just before dawn Monday. The impact was so powerful it split the vehicle into pieces, ejecting everyone inside and rocking homes in the neighborhood.
Christopher Kahn, 18, and Darian Ramnarine, 19, both of Jamaica; and Neal Rajapa, 17, and Peter Kanhai, 18, both of South Ozone Park, perished in the crash. They, along with Beer, were childhood friends who had just graduated from the same high school in Richmond Hill.
It's not clear whether there will be criminal charges filed against Beer. Investigators are waiting for the results of toxicology tests on Beer, which could take weeks.
"The investigation is going to determine not just if alcohol and drugs played a part in this, but also the speed that the car was traveling," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
State Police said Beer shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place: Beer only had a learner's permit, and according to DMV regulations, should not have been driving been 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a parent, guardian or driving instructor who was over 21 years old.
One of the uncles of the victims has said he feels sorry for Beer.
"He's going to live knowing he was driving that car and four of his friends died, and that's not easy to live with," said Jack Kanhai.
But among the victims' young friends, grief has given way to anger.
"He should bear some kind of punishment," said Gayan Bandara, though he didn't want Beer to go to jail.
Parents in the community are equally shaken. Javid Allie, who was friends with Darian Ramnarine, said his mother took away his vehicle after news of the crash.
"She said no driving right now," he said, adding that four sets of parents did not have to be grieving. "She just took the car away completely."
He continued, "I'm a teenage driver just like them, just like him. Because of this, even my mom cried."