DA SINI: UBER DRIVER PLEADS GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER FOR CAUSING DEATH OF PASSENGER BY ALLOWING HIM TO CAR SURF
(CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the guilty plea of an Uber driver for causing the death of his passenger by allowing the passenger to ride on the roof of his vehicle on Sept. 23, 2018, in Huntington. The passenger fell off the roof of the vehicle and struck his head on the roadway, causing head trauma which resulted in his death.
Danyal Cheema, 24, of Huntington Station, pleaded guilty today to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a C felony.
“This was a tragic incident that could have been avoided had the defendant not conducted himself in such a reckless manner,” District Attorney Sini said. “Our deepest sympathies are with the victim’s family and loved ones.”
Between 12:03 a.m. and 12:35 a.m. on Sept. 23, 2018, Cheema, while operating as a driver for Uber, was driving three teenage boys in his 2010 Toyota Highlander on Cove Road in Huntington.
The passengers asked Cheema for permission to “car surf,” or ride on the roof of the vehicle as it was moving, and offered him $70 cash. The passengers ultimately paid Cheema $40 and he allowed them to climb onto the roof of the vehicle while at an intersection.
Two of the passengers, including Ryan Mullen, 15, of Cold Spring Harbor, remained on the roof of the vehicle while Cheema continued driving on Cove Road. Mullen then fell off the vehicle and struck his head on the roadway.
A video of the incident was recorded by the third passenger on Snapchat.
Cheema drove the three teenagers to their destination at a residence in Huntington. Mullen, who had suffered severe head trauma, succumbed to his injuries in his sleep later that day.
Following an investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department’s Homicide Squad and the District Attorney’s Office, Cheema was arrested by Suffolk County Police officers on Nov. 4, 2018.
Cheema will be sentenced by Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho at a later date. He faces a minimum of 10 months in jail plus five years of post-release supervision.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Raymond Varuolo and Maggie Bopp, of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.