Joseph Caleca faces 25 years in prison.
By The American Bazaar Staff
NEW YORK: The coward who hurled racial abuses and threats to a Sikh man in Queens, NY, and then attempted to run him down when confronted, has been arrested.
The police in Queens arrested Joseph Caleca, 55, of Setauket in Suffolk County, and charged him with second degree attempted murder as a hate crime, after he allegedly hit the victim, Sandeep Singh, 29, in Ozone Park in Queens, last month, reported ABC Eyewitness News.
Authorities say the driver hit Singh in Ozone Park just after midnight on July 30, dragging the victim for 50 feet. Eyewitnesses say the driver ran down Singh after yelling a racial slur following an argument.
Investigators made the arrest after gathering information on vehicles that were in the area at the time of the incident, said the report.
Singh was treated at Jamaica Hospital for abdominal and back injuries.
According to Newsday, Singh, a Sikh, was blocking Caleca’s way on 99th Street near 101st Street, prompting Caleca to yell at Singh and his three friends, police said.
Caleca shouted “Osama” and “Go back to your country,” according to Queens prosecutors. After parking his pickup and confronting the group, Caleca returned to his truck and drove head-on into Singh, prosecutors said.
After bumping Singh, prosecutors said, Caleca accelerated, running over the victim.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Singh had to undergo surgery to stem internal bleeding. Brown called Caleca’s insults “vile” and said the man faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, Newsday said.
Caleca also was charged with leaving the scene of an injury accident. He did not enter a plea Tuesday, and his attorney could not be reached for comment afterward. He is due back in court September. 10.
According to the criminal complaint, Caleca admitted to police that he ran the victim over but denied that it was racially motivated. Caleca asked if the victim was all right and said the last time he saw him, the man was conscious, the detective in the case wrote in the complaint.
Prosecutors said police arrested Caleca on Monday after looking for his GMC Sierra pickup, and they said Singh’s friends identified him in a lineup.