A Long Island man has been indicted on hate crime charges for calling a Sikh man “Osama” in Ozone Park last July and then intentionally running him over and dragging him several feet before fleeing, according to the district attorney’s office.
Joseph Caleca, 55, of Setauket, N.Y., was arraigned on Wednesday on a nine-count indictment that included charges of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon and leaving the scene without reporting, District Attorney Richard Brown said. Caleca, who was initially arrested in August, was remanded on continuing bail.
The victim, 29-year-old Sandeep Singh, was standing at the intersection of 101st Avenue and 99th Street in Ozone Park with three friends just after midnight on July 30 when a pickup truck driven by Caleca drove up to the group. Caleca then said to them, according to Brown, “Move your [expletive] ass. You’re [expletive] slow, you [expletive] Osama. Go back to your country.”
Caleca then allegedly parked his truck, got out and confronted Singh and his friends. After an argument, Caleca then returned to his truck and drove head-on into Singh, catching his body underneath the truck and then dragging Singh several feet until his body got out from under the vehicle, according to the district attorney. Caleca then fled the scene.
Singh was taken to Jamaica Hospital with several abrasions, back and abdominal injuries that required surgery and several staples to his stomach.