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Queens Chronicle

Driver gets 21 years for Ozone Park hit and run

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Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2010 12:00 am

A man involved in two drunk driving accidents that killed one man and injured four other individuals has been sentenced to 21 years in state prison, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The accidents occurred in Ozone Park in October 2005.

Anand Hazare, 33, of Stockton, NJ was convicted on March 16 of first- and second-degree assault, second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and personal injury and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Brown said.

According to trial testimony, Hazare was operating a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse at approximately 3 a.m. on Oct. 16, 2005, when his vehicle struck 45-year-old Wazir Mohammed, who was attempting to cross the intersection of Lefferts Boulevard and Liberty Avenue.

Minutes after fleeing the scene, Hazare reportedly drove through a red light at the intersection of 124th Street and Linden Boulevard at a speed in excess of 60 miles per hour and slammed into a GMC Suburban, injuring three of the vehicle’s occupants — Shastri Solgrim, 20, Avikash Ramnarine, 19, and his sister, Avina Ramnarine, 22 — and ejecting the fourth occupant — 21-year-old Shivanand Patraju.Once more, Hazare fled the scene.

Shortly thereafter, he called 911 and reported that he had been carjacked prior to the two motor vehicle accidents.

Brown said that police observed Hazare having bloodshot, watery eyes, a flushed face and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.An intoxilyzer test administered to Hazare resulted in a reading of .12 percent blood alcohol content. The legal limit in New York is .08 percent.

At the time of his arrest Hazare admitted to police that he had “four or five scotch and sodas” and that he had lied when reporting the carjacking incident.

Patraju, a noted musician of classical Indian music, died a short time later from the injuries he sustained from being thrown from the Suburban and Mohammed was treated at a local hospital for multiple fractures, Brown said.

“The moment that the defendant decided to put down his drink and pick up his car keys he was traveling down the wrong road,” Brown said. “ In a matter of minutes, he was involved in two hit and run accidents that left four people injured and a young, talented musician dead. In both instances, he fled the crash scenes rather than stopping to provide needed assistance to those he had harmed. Based on his reckless and thoughtless conduct, and his refusal to take personal responsibility for his actions, the lengthy prison sentence imposed by the court is more than warranted.”

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