Budhu blew through a stop sign at the intersection of 115th Avenue and 130th Street to cause the 2016 crash.
By Forum Staff
A Richmond Hill man driving with a suspended license has been sentenced to up to seven years in prison on manslaughter and other related crimes after he sped through a stop sign in Ozone Park and slammed into another vehicle, caused the death of a 40-year-old woman and critically injured her 9-year-old daughter.
Jairam Budhu, 59, of 125th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens. Budhu pleaded guilty in July to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Gia Morris who imposed today’s indeterminate sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years on the manslaughter charge and a concurrent three-year term on the assault charge to be followed by three years’ post release supervision.
In pleading guilty, Budhu admitted that around 5:06 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, 2016, he was driving a black 2002 BMW westbound on 115th Avenue at more than 60 miles an hour in an unposted 25 miles per hour speed zone when he crossed over double yellow lines into the eastbound lanes of oncoming traffic, overtaking other vehicles, before returning to the westbound lanes of traffic and driving through a stop sign at the intersection of 130th Street. Budhu’s vehicle then struck the passenger side of a Toyota and caused two passengers in the vehicle’s rear seats – Zaakika Rasool, 40, and her nine-year-old daughter – to be ejected.
Mrs. Zaakika Rasool was transported to an area hospital where she died as a result of severe head trauma sustained in the collision. Her daughter was also transported to the hospital with serious physical injuries, including head trauma.
Budhu fled the scene on foot following the collision without exhibiting his license and insurance identification card for the BMW, or providing his name, residence, insurance carrier and without notifying police of such. Two days later, at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, police responded to a call on 103rd Avenue and found Budhu drinking alcohol on a front porch and placed him under arrest. A review of New York State 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.
“The defendant’s senseless behavior is responsible for the death of a young mother and causing serious injury to her child, as well as extreme emotional trauma and turmoil to their family,” District Attorney Brown said, “Under the circumstances, the sentence imposed by the Court is justified.”