Queens man jailed for hit-and-run death of Guyanese


A Queens man apologized Thursday before he was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run crash last year in Rotterdam, according to a report in timesunion.com

“I just want you to know that I am so sorry for everything that happened on that evening,” Ravi Sookram, 29, said, turning toward Inshan Ali’s friends and family. Among them were some wearing T-shirts with Ali’s likeness.

Inshan Ali (left)

Sookram, whose friends and family filled the other side of the courtroom, called his own actions on May 29 “cowardly.”

Police and prosecutors have said Sookram has family in the Schenectady area and had left a party when he hit Ali on Hamburg and Schermerhorn streets. He got out to inspect his SUV, realized what had happened and drove away, investigators said.

Ali, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said Sookram ordered replacement parts for the badly damaged 2004 Lexus RX330 and returned downstate but didn’t drive the vehicle, said authorities.

Rotterdam police arrested him after a monthlong investigation.

Sookram pleaded guilty in January to leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence, both felonies.

On Thursday, Nazeema Ali described the pain and heartache of losing her older brother.

“I am so brokenhearted and devastated. My life will never be the same again,” she said. “Our family is forever broken.”

She said her brother’s death inspired her to work with her congressman to toughen laws and make penalties stiffer for hit-and-run accidents.

Ravi Sookram

Ali and her father, Hassim Ali of Schenectady, also told the court Inshan Ali was a devoted father to his two children.

“He has left two beautiful kids without a father and mother, whose documents cannot be processed,” Hassim Ali said.

The family is from Guyana.

Prosecutor Nicholaus McDonald asked Judge Matthew Sypniewski to sentence Sookram to the maximum of 3 to 9 years. He said investigators could not determine if Sookram was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Sookram’s attorney Lee Greenstein said his client was not drinking and claimed that, in all likelihood, the accident was not his fault.

“It’s a terribly sad day with two families dealing with different tragedies,” Greenstein said, noting Sookram surrendered and confessed to police.

Greenstein asked the judge to impose a sentence that would not involve any time behind bars.

Sookram “killed somebody and tried to get away with it,” Sypniewski said.

“It was dishonest and it was shameful,” the judge said.

Sookram was sentenced to 2 to 6 years for leaving the scene of a fatal accident and 11/3 to 4 years, to run concurrently, for tampering with evidence.




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