Devesh Samtani, 18, was killed in a hit-and-run crash last...

Devesh Samtani, 18, was killed in a hit-and-run crash last week in the Hamptons. Credit: Samtani Family

The alleged hit-and-run driver in last week’s crash that killed a Hamptons partygoer told police that "I freaked out" before fleeing and "I thought I killed him," according to a criminal complaint.

At an arraignment Thursday on a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in serious injury, the driver, Daniel Campbell, 19, of Montauk, was freed on the condition he wear a GPS monitor, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, wrote in an email.

The partygoer, 18-year-old Devesh Samtani of Hong Kong, died three days after the Aug. 10 crash. He had been summering in the Hamptons with his family before he was to begin freshman year at New York University. Samtani had gone to the party, which was at a house in Amagansett; he was among a large crowd spilling out of the party when Campbell, driving his SUV, struck Samtani, police have said.

Campbell was arrested at his home several hours after the crash, based on a description of his vehicle and license plates provided by other partygoers, police have said. A funeral for Samtani, who sustained head trauma and died at Stony Brook University Hospital, was held Wednesday in Manhattan.

The criminal complaint, sworn to by East Hampton Town Police Officer Bradley S. Hughes, quotes the gist of Campbell’s alleged "oral admission."

"Yes I hit the guy he was in the road though I knew I should have stayed but I freaked out. … To be a hundred percent honest with you guys when I looked at the damage I thought I killed him," Campbell said, according to the complaint.

The district attorney’s spokesperson, Sheila M. Kelly, identified Campbell's defense attorneys as Edward Burke and Anthony DiFiore, neither of whom immediately returned messages seeking comment Thursday night, nor has Campbell himself been reachable for comment.

Campbell’s driver's license was suspended and he was ordered to surrender his passport, Kelly said.

His case is due back in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Sept. 30.

Samtani had been in the Hamptons with 13 members of his family, who were staying together in a rented house in Sagaponack before Samtani was go to off to start college, his aunt said in an interview earlier this week. After a family dinner, he, his 17-year-old cousin, and the cousin’s friends went to the house party.

According to the East Hampton Town Police Department’s Det. Sgt. Daniel Toia, officers had broken up the party after receiving complaints, and Samtani was among the large crowd walking in the roadway, where there are no sidewalks, when he was struck about 11:35 p.m. on Old Stone Highway near Eastwood Court. Campbell was about to drop people off at that same party, according to Toia.

Samtani's cousin, Kabir Kurani, 17, said that he, Samtani, and about a dozen of Kurani’s friends got to the party as the police were breaking it up, and that the group was turned away at the porch. Kurani said he didn’t have cellphone service and couldn’t call an Uber for the group — and there were hundreds there. Samtani's uncle has said his nephew was on the side of the road.

Toia said earlier this week that factors being investigated in the crash include Campbell's speed, where exactly Samtani was when he was struck, the roadway’s curve, and the lack of lighting.

Devesh — who is of Indian ancestry and was educated in Hong Kong — is a son of Kishore and Mala Samtani, the family entrepreneurs behind the Hong Kong-based "As Seen on TV" manufacturers of gadgets, such as nonstick pans, Ginsu-type knives and massagers. The products are made in China and sold by retailers around the world, including in the United States at CVS, Walmart, and Target.

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