Corona Man Set Fire, Assaulted Officers
Deemed “a menace to society,” a Corona man is spending the next 30 years behind bars for going on a rampage in Forest Hills in September 2009 that included setting fire to a home, assaulting a resident and injuring three officers as they attempted to stop him, law enforcement sources announced on Monday, Feb. 11.
Vipan Chander, 52, of 108th Street was sentenced last Thursday, Feb. 7, by Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Salvatore J. Modica after being found guilty on Nov. 19, 2012 of first-degree burglary, thirddegree arson, first-degree attempted assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon, driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that Chander set fire on Sept. 15, 2009 to the home of a Forest Hills couple who had allowed his wife and children to spend the night following a domestic dispute. He later returned to the residence and assaulted a male resident with a blunt object.
Chander reportedly ran over two police officers with his vehicle as they tried to stop him during a dispute. After he was finally stopped, law enforcement sources noted, the perpetrator assaulted a third officer who was trying to place him under arrest.
“[Chander] has proven himself to be a menace to society, and deserving of the lengthy prison sentence imposed,” Brown said a statement on Monday. “He has exhibited a complete disregard for human life by assaulting and injuring three police officers and setting fire to an occupied residence-all in the course of a few hours.”
According to prosecutors, the trouble began on the afternoon of Sept. 15, 2009, when Chander came to the residence of a couple in an undisclosed location in Forest Hills where his wife and children had temporarily stayed.
Reportedly, Chander entered the location, doused part of it with gasoline and set it on fire. A woman was home at the time of the blaze, but escaped without harm. Firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames.
Later that day, authorities said, Chander returned to the location and confronted a male resident. He reportedly struck the man twice in the head with a metal object, causing lacerations.
Members of the 112th Precinct responded to both incidents. Shortly after the attack on the male resident, authorities said, a police officer observed
Chander inside a vehicle near the intersection of 66th Road and the Grand Central Parkway.
When the officer attempted to pull Chander over, prosecutors noted, the Corona resident instead drove his vehicle into the officer and the nearby patrol car, then sped away.
Amid a brief pursuit, law enforcement sources stated, Chander then struck a second officer with his vehicle, causing the patrolman to be thrown onto the hood of his nearby patrol car and into the windshield.
Chander was finally stopped a short time later, but injured a third officer in a physical struggle.
All three officers were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.
Law enforcement sources said that Chander exhibited signs of intoxication when questioned by police, including having bloodshot, watery eyes. Tests conducted following his arrests revealed that his blood alcohol level was .15, well above the legal limit of .08 percent.
During a search of Chander’s vehicle, officers found an empty bottle which had a smell of gasoline, a half bottle of whiskey and a black tire iron.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tara Coughlin of the D.A.’s Domestic Violence Bureau, which is supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Scott E. Kessler, bureau chief, and Kelly E. Sessoms-Newton, deputy bureau chief.