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Meadowbrook DWI death defendant pleads not guilty, is denied bail

Bilal Hassan leaves Nassau County Court after being

Bilal Hassan leaves Nassau County Court after being arraigned on March 12, 2015 in Mineola. Hassan, 23, is accused of driving drunk and speeding when he crashed his car on the Meadowbrook Parkway on Thanksgiving, killing his 23-year-old friend, police said. Hassan has pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide after the indictment on charges that authorities said could send him to prison for up to 25 years if he's found guilty. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Brooklyn man was drunk and driving more than 130 mph with a revoked license during a Thanksgiving crash on the Meadowbrook Parkway that killed his 24-year-old passenger, a prosecutor told a judge Thursday.

But from a wheelchair, Bilal Hassan, 23, pleaded not guilty in a Mineola court to aggravated vehicular homicide after an indictment on charges that authorities said could send him to prison for up to 25 years if he's found guilty.

Hassan still is recovering from two broken legs from the crash while in jail, his attorney, Steven Gaitman, said while asking for bail for his client. The Uniondale lawyer said Hassan, who lives with his father, had serious medical needs that would be better met by private care.

"They are certainly taking this case very seriously," Gaitman said of the defendant and his family.

But Nassau Assistant District Attorney Steven Henesy argued against bail, saying Hassan had citizenship in the United States and Pakistan and "had displayed utter disregard for the order of any court."

At the time of the wreck, Hassan was on probation from a drunken-driving conviction in Nassau County weeks earlier and didn't have an alcohol interlock ignition device on his vehicle as his sentence required, the prosecutor said.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz sent Hassan back to jail without bail.

Authorities said Hassan lost control of a 2014 Infiniti before the car went off the road, hit a tree and burst into flames. They said the Nov. 27 crash happened about 2:30 a.m. on the parkway's southbound side as Hassan tried to exit at the westbound Southern State Parkway in Uniondale.

The parents and other relatives of crash victim Malih Takkouche, of Brooklyn, were in court Thursday and declined to comment later. But attorney Matthew Connolly, who was with them, said what happened wasn't an accident.

"It was inevitable because of his actions," the Westbury lawyer said of Hassan. "And the family does support him being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Among other felony charges Hassan now faces are vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter and reckless endangerment. In a separate case from September, records show he also faces misdemeanor charges in Brooklyn that include assault and criminal possession of stolen property.

Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Thursday that Hassan drove "in an outrageously reckless manner" that stole the victim's life, and the ignition device he'd been ordered to use would have prevented the crash.

Hassan's father, a livery driver in New York City, declined to comment while leaving court with his son's attorney.

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