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Long IslandSuffolk

Police: Ridge man, just out of prison, was high in crash that fractured skull of girl, 7

Suffolk County police and the Smithtown Fire Department

Suffolk County police and the Smithtown Fire Department respond to an accident on Route 111 on Monday, July 13, 2015, about 7:15 p.m. A 7-year-old girl was seriously injured, police said. Photo Credit: Joseph C. Sperber

A 7-year-old girl was seriously injured Monday evening in Hauppauge, police said, when the minivan driven by her mother was struck by a Ridge man who records show was released from state prison earlier in the day.

Suffolk police said the man, Brandon Cumberbatch, 21, was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs.

The crash occurred on Route 111 about 7:15 p.m.

The injured girl, identified by police as Bhaswi Singh, was taken by Hauppauge Rescue to Stony Brook University Hospital with a fractured skull and other facial injuries.

She was in serious condition, police said.

Her mother, Arunima Singh, 40, and brother, Avaneesh, 18, also were taken to Stony Brook for treatment of minor injuries.

Police said the Singh family was traveling south on Route 111 when their 2008 Toyota minivan was rear-ended by a 2002 Chevrolet Impala driven by Cumberbatch.

The Impala then veered onto the shoulder, went over a curb into the Hauppauge Plaza parking lot and struck an unoccupied vehicle, police said.

Cumberbatch was taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown for observation -- and police said he faces arraignment at a later date in First District Court in Central Islip.

Records show Cumberbatch was convicted in a 2011 third-degree robbery case in Jefferson County and was released from Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill earlier Monday.

A district attorney's spokesman could not be reached regarding Cumberbatch's prison status.

Cumberbatch's parents, of Queens, who said they did not want their names used, said their son was not impaired at the time of the crash.

"He was not drunk. He was not on drugs. He did not use any drugs," his father said.

"My son might have his issues going on. But the thing is, my son is trying to get help, to make himself better."

The father said Cumberbatch is enrolled at Berkeley College in New York City.

Neil Rogel, a manager at Wendy's on 527 Rte. 111, said the crash took place in front of the fast-food restaurant. "We just heard an explosion," he said.

After he went outside, Rogel said the minivan appeared to be catching fire. So, Rogel said: "We took out our fire extinguisher and we tried to help the people. Everybody was like, 'It's going to explode.' "

The driver who struck the van then fled on foot, Rogel said, but police could not immediately confirm whether they chased the man, later identified as Cumberbatch, before making the arrest.

With Candice Ruud

and Lauren R. Harrison

Latest Long Island News

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