Funeral service held for 1 of 2 teens killed by suspected drunk driver in Jericho crash

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Friday, May 5, 2023
Funeral service set for 1 of 2 teens killed in Jericho wrong-way crash
The two victims of the crash were identified as Roslyn students and young tennis stars Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz.

JERICHO, Nassau County (WABC) -- A funeral was held Friday for one of the two teens killed when a wrong-way driver slammed into their car in Jericho.

A private service for 14-year-old Ethan Falkowitz was held at Temple Sinai of Roslyn.

A funeral for Drew Hassenbein, also 14, is scheduled for Sunday.

Officials say 34-year-old Amandeep Singh was driving on the wrong side of Route 106 Wednesday night and collided with an Alfa Romeo with four teens inside. Singh allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .18 -- more than twice the legal limit.

The teens were on the way home from getting food following a local tennis event. A 17-year-old was the driver, a 16-year-old was in the left rear and the two 14-year-olds were on the right side of the vehicle, in the front and back, and took the brunt of the crash.

"Probably one of the most catastrophic scenes I've seen in a long time," Det. Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said. "It was almost like the car exploded, that's how fast the driver hit that car with these kids in it."

The two eighth-graders were pronounced dead at the scene. They were later identified as Hassenbein and Falkowitz.

The victims were gifted, hard-working tennis stars who played on the varsity team.

"It's really hard for everyone. Once I found out and had been in touch with both families, it's just heartbreaking," tennis coach Jay Harris said.

Authorities say the two other teens in the car were taken to the hospital and admitted for internal injuries. They are stable.

Once Singh's Dodge hit the Alfa Romeo, the teens' car also hit a Volvo with a woman and teenager inside. Those victims were treated at the scene for minor injuries, officials said.

As a good Samaritan helped Singh out of his crashed truck, police say he attempted to flee on foot. But he was quickly caught.

"Singh was kind of all over the place when he was speaking, obviously he was so highly intoxicated," police said. "He was saying he was coming from a birthday party, he thought he was in New Jersey."

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder called the double fatal crash "horrific" and vowed DWI enforcement to "take back our streets this summer...two tragic lives lost because somebody chose to drink and drive and end up going the wrong way. We cant have it, we wont have it here in this county."

"Our hearts go out to their families," Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said. "The perpetrator of that accident will be brought to justice."

Singh is facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter 1st degree, manslaughter 2nd degree, leaving the scene of an auto accident with a fatality, DWI and two counts of assault 2nd degree.

He said nothing as he walked out of the police station.

"This is an otherwise law-abiding man with a college degree, a law-abiding man with a job," said defense attorney James Kousouros.

Hundreds of community members showed up at the courthouse in Hempstead as Singh was arraigned Thursday. He was remanded without bail.

Dozens of people lined up for the suspect's court appearance on Thursday.

"They were the most perfect people and had the brightest futures ahead of them," a friend said.

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