NY-based Guyanese woman dies after drunken off-duty cop slams into her car


A New York-based Guyanese woman died Monday, a day after an allegedly drunk off-duty cop rear-ended her car on the Van Wyck Expressway, authorities said.

Police investigate the accident on the Van Wyck Expressway near Rockaway Blvd. on April 23, 2017. (MARC A. HERMANN/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

According to the New York Daily News, Vanessa Raghubar, 22, was returning from her sister’s birthday celebration Sunday at about 4 a.m. when Officer Neville Smith, 32, crashed his 2010 Mercedes-Benz into her Honda, cops said.

The collision sent Raghubar’s car into a tree and a light pole, critically injuring her and her two passengers.

Rescuers rushed the woman to Jamaica Hospital, along with her sister Maria Raghubar, 21, and her sister’s boyfriend, Justin Harricharran, 20, officials said.

According to NY Daily, Vanessa Raghubar was studying psychology at York College, and was set to graduate in June, her family members said.

“She had a great future ahead of her,” said her mother, Janice Perry. “We need justice. He needs to face the consequences for what he did. He did this to two innocent girls.”

Smith, a detective assigned to the 48th Precinct was charged Sunday with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test. Upgraded charges are expected.

DEAD: Vanessa Raghubar

He remained hospitalized Monday, and has yet to be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court, officials said.

Raghubar’s devastated aunt, Esther Mongul, who raised the woman as her own child, said Maria, who was in critical condition, has not been told about her sister’s death.

“She was the most understanding, giving, loving person. She never asked for anything for herself,” Mongul said. “She took care of me and my 92-year-old mother. Now I’m lost and all alone.”

Vanessa Raghubar signed up as an organ donor when she renewed her driver’s license, her aunt said.

Maria Raghubar has undergone four surgeries, Mongul said. Her pelvis was shattered, her bladder shredded and her arm broken.

“He was a cop and he was drunk. We want justice. He was supposed to protect us, not kill us,” Mongul said. “I’m heartbroken. I never thought when she left home Saturday she would never come back to me.”


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