NYPD officials say one of their own was driving drunk when he allegedly crashed a car on the highway before dawn Sunday, critically injuring two women.
Neville Smith was charged with assault, vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test after cops say he crashed into a Honda being driven by Vanessa Raghubar while her sister, Maria, and Maria’s boyfriend, Justin Harricharran, were in the backseat.
Smith rear-ended the group as he merged onto the Van Wyck Expressway shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday, according to CBS New York.
Maria Raghubar is in critical condition with broken bones in her arms and pelvis as well as severe internal injuries. Her sister Vanessa is even more seriously injured and is currently on life support.
The group had reportedly been out celebrating Maria's 21st birthday.
Harricharran is expected to fully recover from minor injuries he suffered in the crash.
Smith has been a police officer for nearly six years.
“It is very sad that a person of authority, a person who’s sworn to protect the people, was intoxicated and got himself involved in a situation like that,” said Ravi Rattan, the priest for the victims’ family, told reporters.
Nonetheless, Rattan called Hindu culture "very forgiving." And, on Sunday night, the women's loved ones gathered with religious leader at the hospital for a vigil in their names.
Smith, who is assigned to the 48th Precinct detective squad in the Bronx, has been suspended for 30 days without pay.