Richmond Hill man who caused a violent hit-and-run crash in Ozone Park last year sentenced to jail time

Photo: Robert Stridiron/QNS

A Richmond Hill man who ran a stop sign and crashed his car into another car last summer, causing the death of a woman in Ozone Park, was sentenced to prison time, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

Jairam Budhu, 59, of 125th Street in Richmond Hill, pleaded guilty in July to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault. He was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years on the manslaughter charge and a concurrent three-year term on the assault charge, which will be followed by three years of post release supervision.

According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Budhu admitted that at 5:06 p.m. on July 17, 2016, he was driving a black 2002 BMW westbound on 115th Avenue at more than 60 miles an hour; the default speed limit on city streets (except where posted otherwise) is 25 miles an hour. While he was driving, he crossed over a double yellow line into oncoming traffic, overtook passing vehicles, and ran through a stop sign at the intersection at 130th Street when he returned to his lane.

As he ran through the stop sign, Budhu struck the passenger side of a Toyota, causing Zaakika Rasool, 40, and her nine-year-old daughter, who were sitting in the vehicle’s rear seats, to be ejected.

Rasool was transported to a local hospital where she died as a result of severe head trauma that she sustained in the collision. Her daughter was also transported to a local area hospital with serious physical injuries, including head trauma.

Following the crash, Budhu fled the scene on foot without notifying police of his license and insurance identification card for the BMW, or his name, residence, insurance carrier. Two days later, police responded to a 911 call at 103rd Avenue. They found Budhu drinking alcohol on the front porch and he was placed under arrest.

A review of Department of Motor Vehicles’ records indicated that Budhu’s driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay a driver’s responsibility assessment on May 19, 2016.

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