Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice Wednesday told reporters that it’s too soon to say whether her office will file charges against the teenager that crashed his car on the Southern State Parkway on Monday, killing four people.
In her first remarks regarding the deadly crash, Rice said investigators don’t know when they will get to see 17-year-old Joseph Beer’s blood test, which is being analyzed for alcohol and drugs.
The DA’s office has also contacted the carmaker, Subaru, to find out if the car had a “black box” that may be able to provide data about the car’s speed at the time of the crash.
Beer was operating the car with a learner’s permit when he crashed near exit 17 just after 4 a.m. on Monday, investigators said.
“Questions about whether or not criminal charges will be filed are premature at this point as we simply do not have enough information about the crash,” Rice said in a prepared statement.
“I know there is a great deal of speculation about the causes of this tragedy,” she continued, “but we simply do not know the precise factors that led to the crash and we will not be commenting on them further until we know with certainty what happened.”
Beer, the lone survivor of the early morning crash, was released from Winthrop University Hospital Tuesday night, a hospital spokeswoman said. She declined to say what kind of condition Beer was in when he left.
Investigators said the Richmond Hill, Queens resident lost control of his 2012 Subaru Imprezza, left the roadway at a high rate of speed and slammed into several trees in a wooded area.
Three 18-year-old victims from Queens were identified as Christopher Khan, Peter Kanhai and Darian Ramnarine. The fourth was identified by police as Neal Rajapa, 17. All four died instantly, police said.
While police and prosecutors continue their investigation into the accident, Beer’s friends have created a petition on Change.org pleading with prosecutors not to file charges. More than 400 people signed the petition as of 3:30 p.m.
“Not only did Joseph lose his friends that day, he lost his family, and himself,” the author of the online petition wrote. “Can you imagine what it’s like to have your own son not know who you are? Yes, Joseph may have been an [inexperienced] driver but he was not intentionally trying to hurt anyone.”
“Joseph has suffered not only physical injuries, but mental and emotional ones that cannot be healed,” it continues. “We’re not looking for a way to keep him out of jail. The burden he now carries is punishment enough.”