NYPD Cop Faces Upgraded Charges in Queens Highway Crash That Killed Woman, 22

What to Know

  • Neville Smith, 32, of the Bronx, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and other crimes in Sunday's deadly crash on the Van Wyck
  • The driver of the car that was hit, 22-year-old Vanessa Raghubar, died Monday. Her sister and sister's boyfriend remain critical
  • Smith was arraigned at the hospital via video conference

The 32-year-old off-duty NYPD cop accused of rear-ending another car on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens Sunday, killing the driver and critically injuring two passengers, is facing new charges of vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the deadly crash.

Neville Smith was arraigned Wednesday at the hospital where he was taken after the crash, the Queens district attorney's office said. He was already facing charges of operating under the influence and first-degree vehicular assault. 

Smith was allegedly drunk when he crashed into the back of a Honda Accord being driven by 22-year-old Vanessa Raghubar of Elmont, authorities said. The Accord careened into a light pole on the right shoulder, and all three people inside the car were taken to a local hospital with traumatic injuries.

Raghubar died Monday.

Prosecutors say Smith had bloodshot, watery eyes and was slurring when police responsed to the crash scene on the Van Wyck near Rockaway Boulevard at about 4 a.m. His breath smelled strongly of alcohol, but he refused to take a breathalyzer. 

A judge signed a court order authorizing the hospital where Smith was taken after the crash to draw blood for analysis. 

The two passengers in Raghubar's car are still hospitalized. Maria Raghubar, the driver's 21-year-old sister, has a fractured left arm, a fractured hip and trauma to her internal organs, prosecutors say. Maria's boyfriend, 20-year-old Justin Harriharran, suffered cuts and bruises, as well as a concussion.

Bail was set for Smith at $300,000 bond or $250,000 cash. He's set to return to court on May 11. If convicted, he faces seven years in prison. 

A message has been left with Smith's defense attorney.

Vanessa would have graduated from York College in two months, and had a job interview scheduled for Friday, her family told News 4 Monday. 

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