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Stepson charged in hit-run crash that killed cabbie in S. Ozone Pk.

Freddy Romlochan, 27, of 2070 Dean St. in Brooklyn, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges that include manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, criminal negligent homicide and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the DA.Back on Dec. 26, prosecutors contend Romlochan allegedly sped through a red light at more than 60 mph going eastbound on Rockaway Parkway in South Ozone Park at around 1 a.m., plowing into the cab of 40-year-old Gurbaj Singh. Singh's Ford Crown Victoria then erupted in flames, killing him. Singh, an Indian immigrant, was off duty and the only person in the vehicle, according to the DA.Romlochan, who is the stepson of the Jamaica owner of the minivan, allegedly fled the scene on foot and falsely claimed two hours after the incident that the blue 2000 Chevy Astro minivan was stolen between 10:30 p.m. Christmas Day and 2 a.m. when questioned by authorities, Brown said. The DA also said that an unloaded .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun was found in the minivan and Romlochan's eyes were bloodshot and his breath reeked of alcohol."By his alleged actions, the defendant displayed a wanton and reckless disregard for life that clearly illustrated the lethal consequences resulting from driving while intoxicated," Brown said. "People should remember... that a car is a weapon and like a gun can kill Ð unless it is in responsible hands."U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for Ford to equip its civilian Crown Victorias with safety features around the gas tank after Singh's death, according to the New York Post.In a letter to the automobile company, the senator said 18 law enforcement officers and double that number of civilians have died or severely burned while driving in a Crown Victoria after a collision, according to the Post.In 2003, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D- N.Y.) asked the Department of Transportation to examine the relationship between Crown Victorias and fuel leaks after rear impact crashes caused some of the vehicles to erupt in flames.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

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