L. I. Man Used Slurs Before Hit- and- Run

Booked For Oz. Pk. Truck Attack

A 55-year-old Long Island man was booked on hate crime charges for allegedly calling a Sikh manOsama” and then intentionally ramming his pickup truck into the victim and dragging his body along the street before fleeing in Ozone Park last month.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the suspect as Joseph Caleca, 55, of Setauket, Long Island, who faces charges of seconddegree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault as a hate crime and leaving the scene without reporting. Caleca faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

“[Caleca] is accused of an unprovoked attack that allegedly began with the defendant driving by the victim and his friends and yelling out a vile anti-Muslim insult,” Brown said in a statement on Tuesday, Aug. 19. “After an exchange of words, the defendant allegedly struck the victim intentionally with his vehicle and dragged his body along the street.”

According to the criminal charges, the 29-year-old Sikh man and three of his friends were standing at the intersection of 101st Avenue and 99th Street just after midnight on July 20 when a light-colored pickup allegedly driven by Caleca approached the group.

Reportedly, he stated, in sum and substance, “Move your [expletive deleted] ass. You’re [expletive deleted] slow, you [expletive deleted] Osama. Go back to your country.”

It is additionally alleged that Caleca then parked his truck and got out to confront the victim and his friends. After an exchange of words, according to the charges, Caleca returned to his vehicle and drove head-on into the victim, causing his body to be caught on the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Caleca allegedly dragged the victim along the street until his body dislodged from the vehicle, at which point Caleca fled the scene.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the incident. The victim was taken to a local Queens hospital where he received treatment for his injuries, which included surgery for internal bleeding and several staples to his mid-section.

The investigation was conducted by Det. Jay Wolsky of the New York City Police Department Bias Incident Unit.

The District Attorney’s Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau will be prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Mariela Palomino Herring, bureau chief, and Michelle E. Goldstein, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Trials James C. Quinn.

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