Amandeep Singh of Roslyn leaves Nassau County Police Headquarters in Mineola...

Amandeep Singh of Roslyn leaves Nassau County Police Headquarters in Mineola on May 4. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Brooklyn appeals court Friday unanimously rejected the bail request of an alleged wrong-way driver charged with killing two Roslyn teens and injuring two others in a May 3 crash in Jericho, as prosecutors said new evidence showed that defendant Amandeep Singh was driving almost 100 mph while drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the accident.

In a one-page ruling, a four-judge panel in the Appellate Division's Second Judicial Department found a Nassau County District Court had followed the law last month when it rejected Singh's initial bail request.

Earlier Friday, the panel heard bail arguments from defense attorney James Kousouros and Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Michael Bushwack, chief of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau, while dozens of friends and family of the teens watched quietly in the Brooklyn courtroom. A smaller contingent of Singh's family also attended the hearing. Both sides declined to talk to media members following the hearing.

Singh did not appear in court.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • A Brooklyn appeals court Friday unanimously rejected the bail request of an alleged wrong-way driver charged with killing two Roslyn teens and injuring two others in a May 3 crash in Jericho.
  • Before the ruling, prosecutors told the panel that new evidence showed that Amandeep Singh was driving almost 100 mph while drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the accident.
  • Defense attorney James Kousouros had argued his client would not flee and suggested $1 million bail and home confinement with GPS monitoring, in addition surrendering both his American and Indian passports.
Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz died in a wrong-way crash...

Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz died in a wrong-way crash in Jericho in early May. Credit: Andy Siegel/Tyler Hill Camp

While arguing against bail, Bushwack revealed new details about Singh's behavior in the hours before what authorities called a "horrific" crash that killed Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz, both 14-year-old elite tennis players in the eighth grade.

A black box inside Singh's Dodge Ram pickup shows Singh was traveling 95 mph five seconds before the crash, Bushwack said.

Toxicology reports taken four hours after the crash found Singh had a 0.15 blood alcohol level — nearly double the legal limit — along with cocaine in his system, he said. And an empty bottle of tequila was found behind Singh's driver's seat, Bushwack said.

Prosecutors said they've also obtained receipts and security cameras that showed Singh was drinking at two bars before the crash, along with surveillance video from the scene of the accident. 

That evidence, along with Singh's significant financial resources, multiple passports and extensive international travel, make him a serious flight risk, Bushwack said.

"This defendant has the motive and means to flee and, in fact, did on this very case," Bushwack said. "Through his actions, he proved to the lower court that there are no bail conditions that will ensure his return to court. It's not a question of if it's likely he will flee. He already did flee."

In a statement, Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau District Attorney's office, said it was pleased with the appellate court ruling and that it "will aggressively prosecute this case."

Singh is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter, two counts each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault, leaving the scene of an auto accident with a fatality and driving while intoxicated.

Kousouros insisted that his client "is not going to flee," and was not a flight risk. He cited Singh's deep ties to the community, including his wife and two young children, and a successful contracting business that employs 35 full-time workers and has contracts to work on local schools.

The attorney had suggested $1 million bail and home confinement with GPS monitoring and said Singh would surrender both his American and Indian passports.

"This is a complicated case," Kousouros said. "We have accident reconstruction issues. We have many issues that need to be dealt with, and the preparation is going to be long and difficult. This is not going to be an easy case to prepare for and his ability to assist in his defense, which is all he'll be doing, aside from working, is all we're asking for."

Bushwack disputed the defense's argument, noting that Singh attempted to flee in the moments after the fatal crash, as law enforcement found the defendant in a shopping center parking lot, hiding on a loading dock by a dumpster.

"He didn't raise his hands and say 'you got me,' " Bushwack said. "He did the opposite. He turned to walk away. And then he dug his heels in. He denied everything to law enforcement. He said he wasn't driving. He 'doesn't even own a car.' He was 'dropped off there by a friend.' He was 'hanging out with females. Don't tell my wife.' He denied everything. And I submit to the court that was an additional effort to abate apprehension and prosecution."

During the morning hearing, Associate Justice Valerie Brathwaite Nelson seemed reluctant to grant Singh bail.

"The flight from the scene is concerning and it strongly suggests that if released on bail, the defendant is likely to flee again rather than return to court," Brathwaite Nelson said during the hearing.

Dozens of friends and relatives of Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz,...

Dozens of friends and relatives of Drew Hassenbein and Ethan Falkowitz, the two teens killed in a wrong-way crash in Jericho on May 3, attend a bail hearing in Brooklyn for Amandeep Singh, the man accused of causing the accident.

Credit: Ed Quinn

Nassau District Judge Joseph Nocella ordered Singh held without bail during his May 4 arraignment. Nocella said Singh’s prior criminal history, which includes a youthful offender conviction for driving while intoxicated and for gang assault, makes him a flight risk, along with the strength of the case against him.

Singh's arrests occurred 17 years ago and he has lived a law-abiding life in the years since, Kousouros said.

Singh was driving his pickup south in the northbound lanes of North Broadway in Jericho, adjacent to the Jericho Commons shopping mall, when he began swerving in and out of lanes, before colliding "catastrophically" on the right-hand side of a 2019 Alfa Romeo, according to Det. Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick, commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Department's Homicide Squad.

The pickup truck went airborne, spinning, and landing 300 feet away, police said. As witnesses tried to render aid to the teens, Singh fled the scene on foot, Fitzpatrick said.

When police first questioned Singh at the scene, he was so intoxicated that he "thought he was in New Jersey," Fitzpatrick said.

The crash killed Hassenbein and Falkowitz, who were each seated on the right side of the vehicle.

The 17-year-old driver and another 16-year-old passenger survived the crash. All four were members of Roslyn's tennis team and were on their way home after a victory. The teens were wearing their seat belts and the driver had a valid license, police said.

The crash has sparked a tidal wave of emotion in the Roslyn community, with friends, family and supporters of the teens pledging to attend  every hearing in the case.

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