Drunk NYPD Officer Responsible for York Student’s Death Sent to Rikers

By Anthony Medina

The NYPD officer who killed a York College student and seriously injured her sister in a fiery crash on the Van Wyck Expressway in April of last year slipped into court three weeks ago and was sent to Riker’s Island to serve a six-month sentence. 

Neville Smith, 32, pled guilty on Jan. 31 to vehicular manslaughter and negligent homicide in the death of 22-year-old Vanessa Raghubar, who was killed less than two months before she was to graduate from York College.

During a procedural hearing on Feb 13, Smith’s lawyer and the Queens District Attorney’s office agreed to revoke his $300,000 bail and that he could be released after serving four months.

Smith is currently in the North Infirmary Command unit of Rikers where detained inmates requiring medical care are held, according to the New York City Department Corrections website. 

Vanessa Raghubar was driving on the Van Wyck Expressway with her sister Maria in her Honda when Smith smashed his vehicle into hers on April 23, 2017, police said. Raghubar was killed and her sister was seriously injured and hospitalized. Her sister’s boyfriend was also injured in the crash.

According to a spokesperson with the Queens District Attorney Office Richard A Brown, the plea agreement between Smith and prosecutors included six months of jail time, five months of probation, and an Ignition interlock device placed in his vehicle.

Smith must also complete community service hours after his incarceration.

Raghubar was supposed to graduate in June of 2017, but died before she could receive her diploma. Her family attended the graduation at York College in her absence and memory.

Michael Raghubar, Vanessa’s brother, received his sister’s diploma in her place and grieved alongside his family during the June graduation ceremony, CBS news reported. The younger sister, Maria, attended the graduation in a wheelchair — still recovering from her injuries.

Smith was suspended after the incident, but police officials could not confirm his current status. Family members were unavailable for comment.  

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2 thoughts on “Drunk NYPD Officer Responsible for York Student’s Death Sent to Rikers

  • March 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Only 6 months? I wold have been put away for life, I guess that’s the perks of being a NYPD officer.

  • March 19, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for reading, Penny, and for commenting!


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