NJ.com reports that a man has pleaded guilty to charges in the fiery DWI crash that killed a man from south Jersey.
23-year-old Jatinder S. Bhatti was behind the wheel of an Audi A5 northward on Route 55 on October 22, 2017. He slammed into the rear of a vehicle being driven by 78-year-old Dominic L. Santangelo. The impact was so great that the Jeep flipped over, ejecting Santangelo from the vehicle. The Audi was completely engulfed in flames by the time the police arrived. Bhatti’s failed field sobriety tests. When measured, his blood alcohol level was 0.11%. A New Jersey State Police trooper reported that he observed Bhatti attempting to hide a bag that contained Adderall.
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In 2018, Bhatti was indicted by a grand jury on charges of vehicular homicide and evidence tampering. This week, an agreement was reached that allowed Bhatti to plead guilty to a charge of second-degree vehicular homicide. The charges of evidence tampering were dropped as a part of the agreement. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on January 10th. Bhatti pleaded open, which means that he will allow a judge to determine the length of his sentencing.
In New York, vehicular manslaughter, sometimes referred to as vehicular homicide, is the act of causing the death of another person by driving a vehicle illegally. Illegally driving may encompass the following reasons: driving while intoxicated, driving recklessly or with gross negligence, driving while texting or using an electronic device illegally, showing symptoms of road rage, or street racing. Second-degree vehicular manslaughter can result in a penalty of seven years in state prison and a fine of $5,000. First-degree vehicular manslaughter may carry a penalty of up to 15 years of incarceration. A conviction on record of a similar crime may extend that period to up to 20 years.