By Gina Martinez
The man charged in the Ozone Park hit-and-run case that left a mother dead and her 9-year-old daughter seriously injured has been arraigned, the Queens district attorney said.
Jairam Budhu, 58, of Richmond Hill, has been accused of manslaughter, leaving the scene of the accident causing death and criminally negligent homicide, according to the DA. The hit-and- run accident took place Sunday afternoon when Budhu allegedly drove past a stop sign and slammed into the victims’ car, then fled on foot.
He was driving at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in an unposted 25-mile-per-hour speed zone, prosecutors said.
Zaalika Rasool, 40, who worked for the city Department of Transportation, was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead due to extreme head trauma. Both she and her daughter were found unconscious on the street after being ejected from the back seat of their car. Rasool and her daughter had extreme trauma to the head and body, according to the DA. Her daughter was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where she is in critical condition, according to the DA.
Assam Rasool, Zaalika’s husband and the driver of a 2010 Toyota Corolla, talked to NY1 about what he remembers from the accident.
“I tried to sway the car so I could miss him. Unfortunately, he hit the back end of it,” he said, “and the rest of it, I don’t know what happened. All I know is when I came to I couldn’t find the two of them. And when I came out, she was under my car and my daughter was about five feet in front”
Budhu was traveling westbound on 115th Avenue at 130th Street in a 2002 BMW X5 when he allegedly ignored a stop sign and continued though the intersection without slowing down, the DA said. It was at the intersection that he collided with the Corolla that was traveling north on 130th Street. The BMW hit three other empty parked cars before coming to a stop. Budhu then left the scene, according to the DA.
Budhu allegedly fled on foot from the crash without offering his license or insurance or waiting for police, according to the district attorney’s office. Budhu was found when police responded to a call about a drunk man Tuesday morning. The officers arrested Budhu, who was reportedly drinking alcohol on a front porch on 103rd Avenue, prosecutors said.
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles indicated that Budhu’s drivers license was suspended for failure to pay a drivers responsibility assessment in May 2016, according to the DA.
At Rasool’s wake Tuesday, her cousin talked to NY1 about the kind of person she was.
“Family person, very energetic, very humble, very sweet, caring, quiet,” Gibran Deen said. “Everything a human being should be, this person was and now she’s not here.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart