FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Long Island Man Sentenced to Four to 12 Years in Prison for Striking Minivan, Killing 9-Year-Old Girl and Injuring Two Other Passengers
Defendant Rear-Ended Stopped Vehicle While Fleeing From Police And Driving With Suspended License in Canarsie
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a Long Island man has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault for causing the death of a 9-year-old girl after rear-ending the van she was riding in and injuring two other passengers. The defendant had been fleeing from police at the time.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant senselessly killed a 9-year-old little girl and seriously injured another young child and her mother by driving recklessly on the streets of Brooklyn. He should have never been behind the wheel in the first place. Every day that he serves in prison will be a reminder of the innocent young life that he’s destroyed.”
The District Attorney said that the defendant, Kenneth Palache, 63, of Huntington, in Suffolk County, L.I., was sentenced to an indeterminate term of four to 12 years in prison today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Foley. The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault on April 14, 2015. He received four to 12 years on the manslaughter count and two years for each of the assaults; the judge ordered the sentences to run concurrent. The defendant faced a maximum of five to 15 years if convicted at trial.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on May 4, 2014, at approximately 4:40 p.m., the defendant, who was driving with a suspended license, ran a red light and collided with an SUV carrying a family of five, including three children, causing minor injuries to all, near the intersection of Foster Avenue and East 87th Street. The defendant left the scene and was stopped by police about a mile away from the initial accident. He then sped away and struck another vehicle, after which he ran a red light on Remsen Avenue and Avenue M, going in excess of 50 miles per hour. He then struck a black Hyundai Elantra minivan stopped at a red light on Remsen Avenue and Avenue N.
Rebecca Ramnarine, 9, who was seated in the rear of the minivan, was pinned in the van and removed by emergency service workers. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The victim’s best friend, Faith Cummings, 11, who was seated next to her, was seriously injured, as was the driver of the van, Faith’s mother, Esther Cummings.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gayle Dampf, Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit and Assistant District Attorney Cary Fischer, Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Red Zone Trial Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Bureau Chief.