Man Who Left Friend to Die in Fiery Blaze Pleads Guilty
QUEENS, NY— A man who admitted to crashing his car and leaving his Indian American friend trapped inside the fiery wreck to die has pleaded guilty.
Saeed Ahmad, 24, pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Supreme Court on November 24th for causing the death of his friend, Harleen Grewal.
Ahmad, who was driving drunk at the time of the October 13th, 2017 drove his car into the median on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. He fled the scene, leaving Grewal inside the car, which was engulfed in flames.
Ahmad told the judge in his own words that the morning of October 13th, 2017, he and Grewal were in Manhattan drinking “for several hours” when they decided to drive to Brooklyn, the report added.
“I knew my license was suspended but I drove anyway,” said Ahmad, who appeared to be reading from a written statement on the defense table while remaining handcuffed, it said.
Ahmad drove car with suspended license and was speeding in his Infiniti G35 around 4 a.m. when he tried to maneuver around a truck to avoid hitting another car. Instead, he crashed into the middle of the expressway.
“It exploded. As soon as it caught fire, I jumped out and tried to pull Harleen from the car. She was unconscious, I tried to pull her out, but my arms and legs were burning … I was in shock,” said Ahmad.
Ahmad was caught on cellphone video, shot by someone in a passing car and walking away from the engulfed vehicle, hailing a yellow taxi and leaving the scene, the report said.
Grewal, a 25-year-old from Astoria, was pronounced dead at the scene after other witnesses called for help.
Ahmad instructed the cab driver to take him to a nearby hospital where he took a blood alcohol test that showed his levels above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, the report said.
Brooklyn prosecutors charged him with manslaughter, but a grand jury then upgraded the charges to murder. Ahmad pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, DUI, and leaving the scene of an incident in exchange for four to 14 years in prison, it said.
Justice Del Giudice is expected to sentence Ahmad on January 9th, at which time Grewal’s relatives are expected to give victim impact statements, it said.