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Prosecutor says defendant turned car into ‘lethal weapon’

Bilal Hassan leaves Nassau County Court after being

Bilal Hassan leaves Nassau County Court after being arraigned on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Mineola. He was allegedly drunk and speeding when he crashed his car on the Meadowbrook Parkway on Thanksgiving, killing his friend. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A 24-year-old Brooklyn man spent his last moments bracing for a deadly impact because his friend got drunk and drove 133 miles per hour before causing a crash that ended the passenger’s life, a Nassau prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.

“The defendant got so drunk he turned his Infiniti into a lethal weapon,” Assistant District Attorney Stefanie Palma said of Bilal Hassan, while describing a 2014 Thanksgiving crash near a Meadowbrook State Parkway ramp.

Hassan, now 24, also of Brooklyn, could serve up to 25 years in prison if jurors convict him of aggravated vehicular homicide for the Nov. 27, 2014 crash that killed his passenger, Malih Takkouche.

“He saw what was about to happen,” the prosecutor said of Takkouche in her opening statement at Hassan’s trial. “. . . Not a thing he could do about it.”

The early morning crash happened after the two had left a club, and Hassan — who sped past a state trooper’s car — was driving with a revoked license and not using an ignition interlock device he’d been ordered to, Palma said.

But Hassan’s attorney, Christopher Devane, said Wednesday in his opening statement that the district attorney’s office won’t be able to prove his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Mineola lawyer also said state troopers “went full-force after an arrest,” and his client’s rights were violated in the process.

“Your mind should be open,” Devane told jurors. “My client should be presumed innocent.”

Authorities said a test of Hassan’s blood after the crash showed his blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent — twice the legal threshold for intoxication.

Nassau County police medic supervisor Christopher Pieloch testified Wednesday that Takkouche was already dead when he and other first responders got to the Infiniti in a ravine to try to help the two occupants.

He said Takkouche’s arms had multiple fractures, indicating he probably had his arms up in front of himself to try to brace for the crash.

Both Infiniti occupants were “heavily entrapped,” the paramedic said, and Hassan wasn’t responsive at first, but then began screaming and moaning.

State Trooper Philip Pernice testified that Hassan’s Infiniti roared past his marked car at more than 80 mph before he saw it veer toward a median and then crash by an exit ramp for the westbound Southern State Parkway.

The trooper said a fellow trooper who was with him put out a fire in the Infiniti with an extinguisher and they called for more help after they couldn’t extract the two occupants from the crushed vehicle.

Hassan wasn’t in court for his trial Wednesday, and Nassau County Judge Philip Grella told jurors they shouldn’t speculate about why or draw any conclusions from it.

Officials have said that Hassan, who is in custody at the Nassau County jail, has publicly declared that he doesn’t recognize the court’s authority.

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