Hundreds Cram Courthouse After 2 Roslyn 14-year-olds Killed in Jericho Collision
Hundreds of Roslyn residents, friends, and family members of two 14-year-old Roslyn Middle School students killed when a wrong-way driver hit their vehicle crammed the hearing room and hallways of the district court in Hempstead Thursday when the driver was arraigned.
Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz, both 14-year-old Roslyn Middle School students and members of the Roslyn High School tennis team, died in the collision Wednesday evening.
A 16-year-old and 17-year-old also in the Alfa Romeo were treated at a local hospital for internal injuries but were in stable condition, according to police.
Amandeep Singh, 34, also of Roslyn, was arraigned Thursday, May 4 at First District Court in Hempstead on charges including driving while intoxicated as well as vehicular homicide. He is being held without bail with a court date on May 8.
Police said Singh was driving a 2019 Dodge Ram the wrong way, southbound in the northbound lane of North Broadway in Jericho when it hit the Alfa Romeo shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Singh’s vehicle also hit a 2023 Volvo driven by a 49-year-old woman and her 16-year- old son who were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
The Alfa Romeo struck a tree after the collision, according to the criminal complaint.
Singh left the scene without notifying police or providing information, according to the criminal complaint. Police located him at 479 Broadway in Jericho.
“The male subject tried to leave the scene on foot,” said Det. Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief of homicide for the Nassau County Police Department.
The criminal complaint indicated that Singh showed signs of intoxication and acknowledged he had been drinking.
“The defendant had glassy, bloodshot eyes, a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, blood on his shirt and a laceration to the back of his head,” according to the complaint.
Singh “admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages,” according to the complaint, and took a preliminary breath test showing a 0.18 percent blood alcohol content, twice the allowed level.
He refused a blood test and police obtained a court order for a blood sample after the collision involving a driver as well as tennis team members all residing in Roslyn.
“The kids were on a tennis team for their school. They were at a local tennis event and then went to get food at the mall,” Fitzpatrick said. “They were on their way home from a restaurant.”
Team members went from triumph to tragedy in what otherwise would have been a typical celebration after a tennis win.
“The whole community is devastated,” one mother of a student at a Roslyn school said outside the courthouse. “These lives touched everybody.”
Students at the courthouse spoke about the teammates who were killed and those who were injured.
“He was really nice. He put a smile on everybody’s face,” Corey Sadler, 14, said of Ethan Falkowitz, with whom he attended Tyler Hill, a camp in Pennsylvania. “He was always there for you. He was an amazing tennis player.”
Both Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz, although only 14 and in middle school, played on the Roslyn High School tennis team. Hassenbein was a nationally ranked tennis player.
Tennis has long been a key sport in Roslyn where it could easily be seen as occupying the place that football, for instance, might have in some other communities.
Roslyn High School was the Nassau County Large School boys tennis team champion in 2022.
The Roslyn School District cancelled sports activities Thursday and provided grief counselors at the middle school and high school, according to parents.
The collision and deaths sparked reaction from Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder,
“We will be taking back our streets this summer,” Ryder said of efforts to battle drunk driving. “We are going to invest a lot of resources in taking back the streets.”
Singh, who is represented by James Kousouros, is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of manslaughter second degree, vehicular manslaughter, two counts of second degree assault, leaving the scene of a death and driving while intoxicated.