S. Rich Hill hit-and-run leaves grandmother dead

Flowers are taped to a pole at the corner of 117th Street and 97th Avenue, where Raj Chohan was killed. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The family of a 59-year-old woman killed in a hit-and-run crash on 117th Street and residents of the block are calling for measures to slow down drivers on the roadway.

“There should be a stop sign or speed bump or something,” said a close relative of Raj K. Chohan, who identified himself as Sam.

Chohan had been visiting a former neighbor to welcome his new daughter-in-law to the family and was walking alongside parked cars near the corner of 97th Avenue at about 7 p.m. last Friday when she was struck by a gray 2013 Toyota Camry, which then sped off, according to cops.

“The husband and wife came to visit,” said South Richmond Hill resident Suri Charanjit. “He was with her when it happened.”

Charanjit said he and his family came out of their home on 117th Street and saw a crowd of people gathered as EMS performed CPR on Chohan. Her husband had just gotten out of the car when she was struck, her relative said.

Emergency responders were called in and took Chohan to Jamaica Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, the NYPD said.

Residents along 117th Street said a police cruiser happened to be pulled over on the side of the road near where the crash occurred and immediately chased the vehicle.

Police said the officers caught up with 23-year-old Vishwanand Subryan, of Schenectady, N.Y., a few blocks away at 115th Street and 101st Avenue, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Subryan was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and DWI, the NYPD said. At his arraignment, Subryan was ordered held on $200,000 bail and to return to court on Oct. 2, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Both Charanjit and neighbor Piara Singh complained of cars speeding along 117th Street.

“The cars come straight from 103rd Avenue. They have no stop sign, no bump, nothing but green until 95th Avenue,” Charanjit said. “This is just a side street. We want to have a stop sign.”

Chohan, who was a mother of two and had two grandchildren, had been in her former neighborhood to visit Singh, according to Charanjit, who translated for Singh. She had moved about a mile and a half away five or six years ago, her friend said.

As part of a Sikh tradition, she had been visiting to greet Singh’s daughter-in-law, who recently arrived from India, and present her with gifts, he explained.

Chohan had called Singh’s house to let the family know she was outside and asked that someone open the door.

“When [Singh’s] son came out, he saw her on the floor,” Charanjit said.

Relatives described Chohan as well-respected in the community and said she doted on her 4- and 6-year-old grandchildren.

“They have no idea what happened. They know she is an angel now,” Sam said.

A funeral was held Monday, and Choban’s ashes were brought to the Punjab region of India, where Choban was originally from.

“She was my best friend. She was my mentor,” said Choban’s 27-year-old daughter Lovepreet. “Who I am today is because of her.”

Reach Managing Editor Christina Santucci by phone at 718-260-4589 or by email at

Posted 12:00 am, September 21, 2013
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Reader feedback

Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Sorry to hear this. Another example of residents complaining about a quality of life issue on deaf ears and our elected leaders doing what they do best NOTHING.

Time to start acting like LEADERS!
Sept. 21, 2013, 9:18 am

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