(New York Daily News)-A 21-year-old Queens man died in a horrific crash early Sunday after an unlicensed driver he knew from high school sped through a stop sign and slammed into his car, friends and authorities said.
Satesh Permaul was driving a 2003 Nissan Maxima east on 107th Ave. in South Ozone Park when a 2020 Nissan Altima flying south on 109th St. plowed through the stop sign and into his car just before 1:30 a.m., surveillance video obtained by the Daily News shows.
Permaul, a hard-working mechanic who lived five blocks from the crash, was rushed to Jamaica Hospital but couldn’t be saved.
“It’s painful,” said the victim’s devastated father, Arjunun Permaul, 49. “He was just 21 years old.”
“It’s shocking,” he added. “They said he had a head trauma, serious head injury.”
Cops arrested the driver who allegedly struck Permaul. Christopher Garcia, 20, who lives around the corner from the crash scene, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, authorities said.
Garcia’s girlfriend told The News that he and Permaul were friends from their days together at Robert H. Goddard High School — and that Garcia, who was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court Sunday night, has no idea yet who he killed.
“He doesn’t even know that because I can’t even call him or anything,” said Garcia’s girlfriend, Evelyn Perez, 20.
Garcia had texted Perez minutes before the wreck telling her he was looking for a parking spot outside their apartment. She pleaded that he just park the car in the yard but said Garcia didn’t want to disturb the neighbors.
“He was like, ‘I’m just going to keep looking a little bit more’. And then I heard the crash.” said Perez.After he was taken into custody, he called her again.
“He told me he was so scared because he just found out that the guy died”, said Perez. “He said, ‘I’m really scared about what’s going to happen.”
Perez said that her boyfriend has been giving her driving lessons — and telling her how to handle stop signs.
“You have to wait three seconds to stop and then go a little bit forward and then look for cars, and then you can go,” Perez said he had coached her.“He told me that’s exactly what he did,” she said of the crash.
The surveillance video shows Garcia’s car speeding through the stop sign without stopping or even slowing down.
The victim’s family tried to see his body after the wreck but were turned away from Jamaica Hospital as the facility struggles to combat the outbreak of coronavirus. They were told to wait for a call on Monday.
After Permaul immigrated from Guyana with his family a decade ago he fully embraced the American dream, according to his family.
He graduated high school, learned a trade as a mechanic in New Jersey and quickly joined the workforce fixing school buses, which he was continuing to do, as an essential worker, during the coronavirus shutdown.