By Christina Santucci
A teen husband and wife who died in a high-speed crash on the Grand Central Parkway Saturday will share a final resting place as their families raise their 14-month-old baby together, the child’s relatives said.
“They were lovers that not even death could separate,” Meera “Jestina” Dukharan’s grandmother, Jina Mangru, said of the pair, who were slated to be buried together Wednesday. Both Dukharan’s relatives and the parents of 18-year-old Anil Persaud plan to raise little Meya Persaud, who was orphaned by the crash.
“She is loved by all of us,” Mangru said. “She is all of the memory that is left from Anil and Jestina. That is the proof of their love.”
Persaud and Dukharan were ejected from the back seat of a Honda Civic when the car careened into a guardrail at about 4 a.m. Saturday morning on the highway in Jamaica Estates, police said. They landed about 100 feet from the vehicle after the crash and died from head trauma, according to court documents.
The couple’s 20-year-old friend, Madosh Hansraj, was arrested and charged with manslaughter, assault, criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol following a fatal crash, according to the criminal complaint provided by the Queens district attorney’s office.
Police had hauled a bleary-eyed Hansraj to the 112th after the crash, where he allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .072 – just below the legal limit .08 – and allegedly admitting to drinking two beers, the court document said. A detective who reconstructed the accident from tire marks on the roadway determined the Honda had been clocking in 119 miles per hour, the criminal complaint said.
Another of the Honda’s passengers, a 17-year-old boy, was also thrown from the car, the NYPD said. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens, where he was listed in serious but not critical condition as of Saturday. police said.
Two other passengers, who were 19 and 20 years old, were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries, police said.
The group of young people had been headed home at the time of the crash, said Persaud’s older sister, Nalini.
Dukharan’s mother, Pammy Hernandez, said the family had no comment about Hansraj at their South Jamaica home Tuesday morning.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the driver. I can’t imagine what they are going through,” said Jason Johnny, Dukharan’s uncle.
Persaud’s relatives said the group of six young people in the car had grown close over time – at IS 238 Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Jamaica and Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village.
“They were all really good friends,” Nalini Persaud said.
Persaud’s parents were devastated by the news that the youngest of their six children had been killed, his sister said.
“He was a working father,” Nalini Persaud said, explaining that her brother had a job as an auto body painter in Queens. “He was full of life. Everything about him was life.”
The couple became friends in junior high school and quickly fell for one another with Dukharan penning numerous love letters to her beau, Dukharan’s family said.
“She would be on the phone until 4 a.m. Sometimes she wouldn’t go to sleep,” her aunt Francine Johnny said.
Her mother said she spent the afternoon with her daughter the day before she was killed at the deli Hernandez owns.
“She was very happy,” Hernandez said, while sitting in the backyard of the family’s South Jamaica home.
Hernandez described her daughter, who had a tattoo with the words “Never a failure, Always a lesson,” as the best teenage mother she had ever encountered and said the young woman had been thinking of eventually returning to school to study forensics.
“We all loved them very much. We pray for their souls to be at peace,” Hernandez said.
Outside the Dukharans’ house Tuesday, several vehicles had been decorated with messages to the teens.
One read, “Your love story continues in heaven.”
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4589.