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Forest Hills teen convicted in crash

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A pot−smoking, pill−popping and unlicensed Forest Hills teenager who killed a married Kew Gardens couple after plowing through a red light was sentenced to 2 12 to 7 12 years in state prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last week.

Jacob Chubalashvili, 18, of Forest Hills, was sentenced in Queens Supreme Court last Thursday after pleading guilty May 11 to first−degree vehicular manslaughter charges for killing Ki Kim, 55, and his wife, Hyekung Kim, 53, in Forest Hills Aug. 5, the Queens DA said.

Chubalashvili, who did not have a valid New York driver’s license, admitted to having smoked marijuana and swallowing 12 pain pills just before he hit the Kims’ vehicle with a Mercedes−Benz he had taken without permission from a family friend, according to the criminal complaint and the DA.

Hyekung Kim, a supervisor at the city Administration for Children’s Services, and Ki Kim had been on their way to work when Chubalashvili, traveling at twice the posted speed limit, swerved around a car waiting for a red light to change at 69th Road and the Grand Central Parkway Service Road and ran through the intersection, striking the Kims’ Acura, the DA said.

Chubalashvili had been going 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to the complaint.

The force of the impact drove the Acura into a guardrail and light pole, causing the vehicle to split in two, the DA said. The Kims died on impact.

When the teenager spoke with police at Jamaica Hospital, where he was taken after the accident, the DA said he showed more concern for his car than the couple who died.

After being informed by police that two people were dead, the DA said Chubalashvili asked, “How is the Mercedes?”

“That was supposed to be my car,” Chubalashvili said to police, according to the DA.

Brown said the Forest Hills resident “has now been held accountable for his crime and will serve serious prison time, giving him time to reflect on his misdeed.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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