Hamptons driver may now face jail time in fatal hit-and-run that killed 18-year-old, Devesh Samtani
The Hamptons hit-and-run driver who mowed down an 18-year-old man could finally be chucked in jail in the coming weeks, the victim’s lawyer has told DailyMail.com.
Daniel Campbell, 20, could get 90 days in prison for striking and killing Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani in Amagansett on August 10, 2021, attorney Benjamin Brafman said.
He told how the devastated family were hopeful the sentence will be brought down on the defendant next month.
It comes less than a month after DailyMail.com revealed Campbell had a string of previous driving offences before mowing down Samtani.
They included speeding tickets days before the fatal crash, a head-on collision and even having his license stripped from him.
Samtani had been walking along Old Stone Highway with his cousin Kabir Kurani, 18, and their friends trying to get service to get an Uber back home.
But he was hit by Campbell – driving a Honda Pilot packed with nine passengers – so hard he flew 6ft into the air, with his shoes flying off his feet.
Campbell allegedly then drove off and left the economics student to die on the highway surrounded by his friends.
Daniel Campbell appeared dismal as he walked with his father (pictured right) outside of the Arthur M. Cromarty Criminal Court Complex in Riverhead. Campbell struck and killed Samtani in the fatal hit-and-run and fled the scene. Samtani had been walking along Old Stone Highway in Amagansett with his cousin, Kabir Kurani, 18 and some other teens on August 10, 2021 when the devastating incident took place
Mala and Kishore Samtani stand outside the courthouse after they learn of the court’s decision. Mala holds a framed photo of her son that she always carries with her. The parents are hoping to get justice for their beloved son who was killed in the fatal hit-and-run. Samtani was supposed to start NYU in the Fall of 2021 before the tragedy occurred
The tragic accident happened on Old Stone Highway near where the road curves at Eastwood Court, according to the accident report. The driver identified as Daniel Campbell, 20, plowed into Devu and kept on driving. His 2012 Honda Pilot was packed with 9 passengers
Brafman told DailyMail.com outside Suffolk County Criminal Court on Thursday that the court was considering 90 days jail time.
‘We are pleased that the court gave very serious consideration to our position,’ he said.
‘We are indeed hopeful that the court said he is inclined to change the promise on the sentence from community service to 90 days in jail assuming Mr. Campbell agrees to accept that sentence.’
He said if he does not accept the sentence and doesn’t agree then under the law he is able to take his plea back.
Judge Richard Ambro planned to sentence Campbell to just six months community services and five years probation in lieu of jail time.
The judge’s promise was contingent on Campbell steering clear of the law and showing up at the sentencing, despite admitting felony causing death.
Devu’s parents, Mala and Kishore Samtani, were shocked and devastated by the judge’s decision that Campbell would get no jail time.
Campbell arriving at the Suffolk County Courthouse on Thursday morning, which was the original date of his sentencing that had been postponed due to a computer glitch in Suffolk County that prevented the judge from getting the completed probation report. The new date is scheduled for October 25 .Campbell is pictured here walking with his parents and his attorney, Edward Burke, Jr. (pictured in the front)
Daniel Campbell looking glum as he left the Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead after Thursday’s court appearance. He was accompanied by his mother and father (pictured walking alongside him) and his lawyer Edward Burke, Jr. who was partially concealed in photo
Devu’s parents have been heartbroken since their youngest son Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani was killed last summer. The soft-spoken Kishore said: We are not revengeful people. We just want closure’
Brafman said he believes the judge’s change of heart was based on Campbell’s prior driving record after they had sent him new information.
He told DailyMail.com he had sent a written submission to the judge which included Campbell’s driving record.
He said: ‘We explained to the judge that if he proceeds with the sentence of community service the family does not believe that that it is really justice.
‘We also explained that it is probably not possible for him to have been driving at 20-25 miles per hour as he told the police who interviewed him because the impact was substantial.’
Brafman said ‘witnesses say Devu flew more than six feet in the air and landed without his shoes.
‘The force of the impact was just not possible for him to have been driving 20-25 miles per hour,’ he said.
‘The crime here is leaving the scene of the accident. The crime is he ran away and should have stopped. He should have remained on the scene,’ Brafman said.
Campbell’s prior driving record includes a head-on crash last year – months before he killed Samtani – and more recently a speeding violation weeks before the fatal crash.
‘It doesn’t appear that that was factored into the equation,’ Brafman said, explaining ‘we were very surprised when they learned about his Campbell’s driving history’.
‘This kid at age 17 already ignored the driving rules that apply to all of us that was apparent from driving transcripts from the Motor Vehicle Bureau.’
Campbell had a court hearing scheduled on Thursday but a computer wide problem in Suffolk County all week shut all the computers down postponing the hearing.
‘This is very unusual he was supposed to have been sentenced today but he is not going to be sentenced because the probation officer could not finish her report because of the computer break down in Suffolk County,’ Brafman said.
‘As a result the judge does not have an updated probation report and the preliminary report did not include anything from the family because they were not notified because of the failure of the lawyer who got the victim impact statement.’
‘I think what is important from our perspective is the court is inclined to change the offer to Mr. Campbell from five years probation and six months of community service to five years probation with 90 days of jail and 90 days of community service.’
High-profile attorney Benjamin Brafman and Kishore Samtani walk outside the courthouse before the closed door meeting with Judge Richard Ambro on Thursday. Mala and Kishore are pictured behind Brafman as he speaks to the media after the Thursday court meeting
Devu (far left) was all about family. He is pictured here with his parents, two brothers, and sister-in-law
Samtani’s parents have now hired star lawyer Benjamin Brafman to try and get Campbell thrown into jail
Brafman said he does not think there will be a trial because Campbell told the police what he did. ‘I think this is really about leaving the scene of an accident,’ he said.
He added: ‘I think this is an issue of a young person after an accident panicking. I think it is unfortunate that there is a serious tragedy he left the family to deal with for the rest of their lives.’
Mala walked quietly out of the courthouse clutching a photo of her beloved son surrounded by her loving family.
Her son Viren, 23, walked besides her along with sister Poonam Mirchandani, her father, her brother Jeff Kurani, and sister-in-law Jennifer Kurani.
When asked to describe his son after Thursday’s courthouse meeting, the soft spoken Kishore said he was a ‘kind person.’
‘He liked to study and go to university and was a very charitable person,’ he said.
Kishore, who had flown in from Hong Kong days earlier to be at the court appearance told DailyMail.com he believes some progress was made.
Mala and Kishore spoke exclusively to DailyMail.com last month. They spoke about the many charities they have created and scholarships they have put in place in their son’s honor
‘I think some important things have come to Judge Ambro’s attention and that is why he changed his mind.’
He added: ‘I think he [Campbell] will serve some time and that is it. We are not revengeful people.’
Kishore said he will travel from his home in Hong Kong to New York as often as he needs to in order to get justice for his son.
‘We will come back again and again,’ he said.
Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani, 18, was planning to attend NYU in Fall 2021, weeks before his life was cut short, when Campbell plowed into the teen killing him on August 10, 2021
When Danielle Campbell left the courthouse with his parents at his side he looked straight ahead and did not respond to any reporters.
Campbell’s attorney Edward Burke, Jr, speaking outside the courthouse, said there were no additional charges given out.
He said he would not comment on whether Campbell would be serving jail time.
‘There is still a lot of information we presented to probation just two weeks ago in anticipation of this date. I know that will be reflected,’ he said. ‘We have more work to do.’
Burke, who called it a ‘tragedy’ said that Campbell is ‘doing ok but said he was having a tough time for sure.’
‘The weight of this is obviously immense on everyone’s shoulders,’ he said.
Last month during an exclusive interview with the heartbroken parents, Mala told DailyMail.com she often speaks to Devu, stares at his photos everyday, sends him text messages to his cellphone, and always keeps his phone charged that she keeps by her beside.
She said last year, August 27, 2021, was the date Devu was supposed to move into his dorm as an incoming freshman at NYU – studying math and economics.
Kishore has a tattoo of his son’s smiling face that is located on is forearm for all to see
‘When I sleep at night I ask him, How’s college? How are you doing? Are you going to the restaurant?’
Mala shared her pain: ‘I can’t accept it. I know but I can’t accept it. I am not going to accept it. I am not ready to accept it.’
Kishore sat next to Mala and tried to comfort her as he got emotional looking at videos of Devu when he was a child singing and dancing at different family occasions.
‘He was not shy,’ Kishore said with tears in his eyes watching his son singing to a roomful of people a a family party at only age seven.
‘The ultimate tragedy is to lose your child,’ Mala side taking a breath. ‘I am still in denial.’
Campbell’s next court date is October 25, during that time will tell the court his decison and his sentencing will been adjourned to November 3.