RAMAPO, N.Y. – A local yeshiva student who was seriously injured by a car last year is alleging a cover-up on the part of the Ramapo police who investigated the incident, according to a report by the Journal News/lohud.com.
Police Chief Brad Weidel has firmly denied the allegations, which were laid out in a notice of claim, a legal document that, the Journal News/lohud.com said, has to be filed before a civil lawsuit can be commenced.
According to police, a car being driven by 24-year-old Suffern resident Jonathan Mosquera, careened into David Maldanado, 19, and his classmate Marcos Tawil, a 17-year-old Argentinian, last September as the two students were standing in the driveway of their dormitory on Route 202 between Wilder and Spook Road roads in Suffern.
The fatal crash occurred when a Honda being driven by 19-year-old Tzvi Hakakian of Monsey was slowing down to make a left turn into the driveway and Mosquera, who was driving a Lexus on his way to work just before midnight Sept. 7, tried to pass on the left, police said.
The two cars sideswiped each other and the Lexus struck Tawil and Maldanado, then hit a guardrail and rolled down an embankment, police said.
Tawil was killed outright and Maldanado suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured skull and a ruptured spleen.
Mosquera faces several traffic charges, including speeding, unsafe lane change and improper passing, police said. They also ticketed the other driver for an unsafe lane change and improper left turn.
Police determined, however, that criminal charges were not warranted.
An investigation found no evidence that Mosquera, or the other driver, had drugs or alcohol in their systems, police said.
According to the Journal News/lohud.com, which obtained the legal document through the state Freedom of Information Law, Maldanado claims that Mosquera was driving recklessly and that Ramapo police intentionally thwarted the investigation by failing to properly collect evidence and by intimidating witnesses.
Weidel told the Journal News/lohud.com that while Maldanado’s claims are without merit, the department take seriously any claims of impropriety, adding that he stands firmly behind his investigators and denies they downplayed any criminal aspects of the case.
Mosquera and Hakakian are to appear next month in Wesley Hills Justice Court, the chief said.