A 20-year-old man who fatally-struck a teenage boy with his car and fled the scene in the Hamptons has been spotted working at his mother’s business just one day after it was revealed he would serve no jail time.
Daniel Campbell was spotted working at his mom’s store, Bontemps in Montauk, adorning a casual blue shirt as he helped out with racks of clothes.
Bontemps is marketed as a beach clothing store and stocks hoodies, sandals, beach bags and sunglasses among other products.
The ‘family owned’ store opened in spring of 2021 and says ‘our line tells the stories of the artisans who have made them for generations using natural materials.’
Campbell was speeding down Old Stone Highway in Amagansett on August 10, 2021 when he hit Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani, an 18-year-old headed for his freshman year at NYU and had just arrived in the country from Hong Kong days earlier.
Campbell had nine people packed into his 2012 Honda Pilot when the crash occurred, and admitted to police he ‘freaked out’ when he hit Samtani.
Samtani died three days after the crash, and Campbell is now free to resume his old life as after a plea deal was struck when he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident and causing Samtani’s death.
Daniel Campbell, then 19, was speeding down Old Stone Highway in Amagansett on August 10, 2021 when he fatally hit Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani
Kabir Kurani, 18, pictured with his cousin Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani, 18, (right). The pair were enjoying a summer night in the Hamptons August 10, 2021 when Devu’s life was tragically cut short after he was killed in a deadly hit-and-run
Campbell had nine people packed into his 2012 Honda Pilot when the crash occurred and fled the scene
Suffolk County Judge Richard Ambro said he will serve zero time in jail and complete community service and five years’ probation instead. He will only be formally sentenced on September 22.
Samtani and his cousin, Kabir Kurani, were walking on the dark road when Campbell suddenly struck him from behind. Kurani describes how he heard the ‘crunch’ of his cousin hit the ground a few feet away from the curb after being flung in the air.
‘I was screaming and yelling for someone to call 911,’ Kurani said, recalling how he saw his cousin lying unconscious and bleeding on the road. ‘When Campbell hit Devu, he chose to leave him there to die. He chose to hide, instead of helping the boy he just struck.’
When police later arrested Campbell at his Montauk home – after a witness provided a photo of his license plate to cops – according to the police accident report, he admitted to officers: ‘Yes, I hit the guy. He was in the road though, I know I should have stayed but I freaked out. To be 100 percent honest with you guys, when I looked at the damage I thought I killed him.’
Campbell’s attorney, Edward Burke Jr., defended his client’s plea deal, telling DailyMail.com: ‘Mr. Campbell has always taken responsibility for his actions. He has always wanted to express his since apology for the family. He will be addressing the victim’s family at the court on September 22 and that is something he has wanted to do since day one.’
The lenient sentence Campbell is set to face has left the Samtani’s family furious.
‘He killed my cousin. I am angry. I am devastated that Campbell may face no real consequences for his actions, while my family will face the loss of Devu for the rest of our lives,’ Kurani said.
Daniel Campbell (pictured center) with his attorney Edward Burke, Jr. (left) and another attorney. Daniel’s father, Mr. Campell, (pictured far right) walking with Daniel’s mother whose face is concealed in the photo, and his younger sister, Ella Campbell (pictured far left). Campbell pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in the death of Devesh Samtani and under the plea agreement would receive six months in jail, but that can be substituted by community service, according to Judge Richard Ambro of Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead
Samtani’s mother, Mala, said that seeing her youngest child in the casket at his funeral is an image that she said will never leave her memory. His father, Kishore, said he wants Daniel Campbell to spend at least six months in prison
On the night of the crash, Samtani and Kurani had finished a family dinner and were walking along Old Stone Highway to a friend’s house party on Timber Trail but the two-way road was dark and winding with no street lights and no sidewalks.
Devu had been walking in the lead carefully along the curb when a car driven by Campbell approached them from behind. The vehicle first grazed a young girl walking in the group before striking Devu.
The impact of the blow was so hard Devu was thrown into the air and was flung a few feet onto the grass. He lay bleeding and unconscious.
Kurani described the noise he heard when his cousin was hit by the speeding car as defeaning, describing it as if ‘two gunshots’ went off.
When the ambulance arrived, Samtani was rushed by ambulance to Southampton Hospital before being transported to Stonybrook University Hospital.
As he fought for his life, Kurani said he had to stay behind and speak with the East Hampton Police well into the night having no idea how his cousin was doing.
Samtani’s father, Kishore Samtani – who owns the multi-million dollar Hong Kong-based ‘As Seen on TV’ enterprise – told DailyMail.com that he was out of the country when he learned the horrifying news that his son had been in a hit-and-run accident in the Hamptons.
He said it took him more than 36 hours to get to his bedside at Stonybrook University Hospital.
He told DailyMail.com that his son had already been ‘declared dead.’
‘The car hit him so hard. He flipped high in the air, hit the ground, hit his head and died,’ an emotional Kabir said.
‘They were keeping him until I got to the hospital. We were pushing our luck hoping that some miracle would happen but we knew,’ he said as his voice began to trail off.
‘I told him to please come back. I told him that everyone is here for him and waiting for him. I told him that everyone loves him, but he never came back.’
Samtani’s mother, Mala told DailyMail.com that the whole family is ‘completely broken’ by the judge’s decision.
‘It’s not just my youngest son Devu that has been killed, but my whole family has been shattered. We are lost and it has impacted us in a very deep way,’ she said.
‘It’s painful and shocking to think that Daniel Campbell will never serve jail time for his crime, as it portrays that my son’s life did not matter. He appeared to have no empathy, remorse, and humanity to help my child. Had the witness not taken a picture of his license plate, we would have never known who had killed my son Devu,’ she said.
Mala said that seeing her youngest child in the casket at his funeral is an image that she said will never leave her memory.
‘The pain that my family goes through is so immense that it cannot be defined in words. It’s like I must walk with a heavy sharp rock scraping me on my back till my last breath.’
‘I always believed that in America there is fair justice, but I am shocked at the system here, that I always trusted the most,’ she said. ‘Last year it was my son, tomorrow it could be someone else’s child.’
Speaking from his home in Hong Kong, Kishore told DailyMail.com how distraught he was that the judge made a decision without hearing from the family.
‘We are asking for at least six months so the boy can think about what his actions cost our whole family,’ he said.
Devu had planned to attend NYU and study economics and mathematics before the deadly August 10, 2021 hit and run accident that cut his life short
Kishore Samtani (left) and Mala (right) at the court hearing on August 5, 2022 at Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead
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 Honda Pilot was packed with 9 passengers
At the August 5 hearing where Campbell was advised of the plea deal, Justice Ambro said the ‘sentence I promised you,’ includes no jail.’ The judge added that the promise was contingent on Campbell returning to court on that date [September 22] and steering clear of law enforcement in the meantime, the East Hampton Star reported.
According to an August 11 accident report from the East Hampton Town Police Department obtained by DailyMail.com, Campbell told police he had about ‘four of five’ of his ‘sister’s girlfriends [in the car].’
But, according to a new report there had been 10 people packed into his sport-utility vehicle that Campbell was driving, the news outlet report.
In the accident report, Campbell said: ‘The Honda Pilot seats eight people so everyone was able to fit in the car. There are three seats in the middle and three seats in the third row in the back. When they got in we all talked for a few minutes and they were trying to figure out where to go. Nothing conclusive was determined so we just started driving.
‘At first I just thought this kid just bumped into my car and hit my mirror so I didn’t think it was anything serious. I got out of my car and could see the front passenger headlight was cracked and there was some damage to the front passenger side of the vehicle,’ he said in the accident report.
‘My sister was extremely upset and quiet. While I was on the side of the road I started getting alerts on my phone about a kid that was in critical condition after getting hit by a car. That was confirmation for me about what really happened. I was in disbelief because I didn’t think the kid was actually hurt. I started getting those snapchat alerts after being on the side of the road for about five minutes.’
‘My heart started beating really fast and I think I started to have a panic attack. I wasn’t thinking clearly and didn’t know what to do. I’ve been in car accidents in the past before, but never involved in an accident where someone got hurt.’
‘I knew I should have stayed and got a police officer and got help, but in my panic, I focused on getting my sister and her friends home. If I could do it all over again I would have.’
Witnesses at the scene wrote down Campbell’s license plate number before he drove to his home in Montauk, Long Island, where he lives with his family part-time. The family owns a retail store in Montauk, and his primary residence is listed as Hastings-on-the-Hudson in Westchester County.
Once Campbell was at his house, he switched the 2012 Honda Pilot he was driving, the car the fatally struck Devu, and then drove another car to the docks near his home to meet up with a friend, according to the Samtani family.
Samtani, seen with his parents Mala and Kishore, who are praying that they will get justice for their son
Omar Alamanzar-Paramio, the attorney for the Samtani family, told DailyMail.com that when the defendant hit Devesh, that is the point most people would have stopped. He instead continued to drive.
‘One can understand the panic in the moment, but the defendant then decided three separate times over the course of the next few hours to flee,’ he said.
‘The first time was just shortly after running Devesh over when a few of the passengers demanded to get out of the car and go back to where the accident occurred.
‘Instead of going back to where the accident scene, he took off. Once he got home, he could have at that point called the police, but instead switched vehicles and drove off again.’
‘Hours later, instead of deciding to call the police or go back to the scene, we learned that he drove to meet a friend and was researching public transportation to get out of New York State. He was also trying to contact local police in the medical field that could tell him how serious the situation was without reporting to the police.’
Paramio added: ‘His behavior at this point is no longer out of panic. His behavior is out of self preservation. When the court decides punishment, the court often looks for remorse. I don’t see any indications of remorse until after the defendant gets caught by the police. That is why, in my opinion the defendant deserves some jail time despite his young age and no priors.’
Paramio told DailyMail.com that the prosecutor informed him that Judge Ambro was ‘made aware of the family’s wishes that the defendant be held accountable and spend some time in jail.’
With the September 22 sentencing just weeks away, Samtani’s cousin hopes to speak to Judge Ambro and tell him what exactly happened the night of August 10, and to explain how his death has devastated the family.
‘I want the judge to know how we went from a happy, loving family that was always together and always smiling to a fractured family because Devu is gone and Daniel Campbell is responsible,’ Kurani said.
‘He should have not been speeding or had 10 people in his car. If he recognized there was a party and people spilled out in the streets he should have slowed down. He shouldn’t have driven so close to the curb. And, when he did hit Devu he should have been there to call 911.’
‘His intent was to save himself. He was selfish. He was evil. He ran away without helping to save an innocent life. He should have done anything in his power to save this man he just hit but he didn’t … he chose to run and save himself.’
Kurani, who is starting NYU on September 1 told DailyMail.com that he will study economics just like his cousin planned and carry his legacy.
‘Everything Devesh did came from his heart. He was genuine, smart, and a man of respect. He embraced and loved everybody. Was always there for his friends and family. He lived with honor and integrity,’ Kabir said.
Devu (far left) was all about family. He is pictured here with his parents, two brothers, and sister-in-law
Devesh was always surrounded by his family and extended family. In the photo is a picture of one of his elders
Samtani was described by family as a mathematical genius who had a deep passion for helping others.
The family has created a website to honor all his accomplished during his short life. One of them was a book he co-wrote, ‘Ash’s Covid-19 Birthday Bash,’ to help children navigate COVID with all the proceeds going towards a charity.
And, a video montage with the song ‘Til We See You Again,’ that features a gallery of photos and videos of Devu from childhood through his 18th birthday.
The Devesh Samtani Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers quality education to children from low-income families, especially the ethnic minorities, in Hong Kong, was set up.
The foundation will emphasize math and economics, two areas Devesh was passionate about. A scholarship was also put in his name at NYU.
. Source: Dailymail