15-Year-Old Boy Dies in His Sleep After ‘Surfing’ on Roof of an Uber — Leading to Driver’s Arrest

A New York Uber driver is accused of manslaughter after three teenage passengers who’d been drinking allegedly paid him to let them climb onto the roof of his moving car — and then one of them fell off and died, PEOPLE confirms.

The driver, 24-year-old Danyal Cheema, of Huntington Station, was charged Monday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Ryan Mullen, of Cold Spring Harbor.

Cheema is being held in lieu of $ 200,000 bond following his arrest on Sunday. It was unclear if he’d entered a plea. His attorney, Christopher Renfroe, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In the incident shortly after midnight on Sept. 23, Cheema was behind the wheel of his 2010 Toyota Highlander as an Uber driver when he picked up the three teen boys in Huntington, after they had been drinking, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

On the way to their destination, the boys allegedly offered Cheema $ 70 cash — and gave him $ 40 — if he’d let them climb onto the car’s roof at an intersection so they could “car surf” as the vehicle took off, the investigation revealed.

Mullen and a second teen then remained on the roof as Cheema drove along Cove Road, with the third boy recording them in a Snapchat video.

Mullen’s subsequent fall led to head trauma “which resulted in his death,” according to the prosecutor’s office. Although Cheema brought all three boys to their destination at a home in Huntington, Mullen “succumbed to his injuries in his sleep later that day,” the prosecutor’s office said.

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“This was an incredibly bad decision by the defendant and a bad decision by the boys involved,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a news release. “But at the end of the day, this defendant is an adult who was contracted to safely bring those boys home and he failed to do that.”

“We have a culture right now where the mindset is, ‘How can we outdo each other?’ Particularly among young people on social media, and we often see the tragic consequences of that,” Sini said. “A lot of young people think they are invincible and that’s something we need to keep drilling in their heads that this could happen to anyone when you engage in this kind of conduct.”

He added: “In this day and age, we often encourage people to use ride sharing services because it’s a safe alternative to drinking and driving. These boys were doing that; they were drinking that night and they made the right decision to contract with a car service.”

“Unfortunately the defendant made a reckless decision and engaged in reckless conduct that caused the death of a young boy, and he will be held accountable for that,” Sini said.

In his obituary, Ryan was remembered as a “loving son” and “fierce friend.”

He “lived life so large and his time here was short,” his family wrote. “God had other plans.”

Cheema faces five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the manslaughter charge. He is due back in court on Friday.


PEOPLE.com

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Last Comic Standing Comedian Ralphie May Dead at 45 After Cardiac Arrest

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“Ralphie had been battling pneumonia and had cancelled a handful of dates over the last month in an effort to recover,” May’s manager said in a statement. “Earlier this morning at a private residence in Las Vegas his body was discovered, cause of death is cardiac arrest.

“Two days ago he won the Casino Comedian of the Year at the Global Gaming Expo and had performances throughout the remainder of 2017 as part of his residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas,” his manager said.

In 2003, May competed in the first season of Last Comic Standing, finishing in second place. The comedian went on to record multiple comedy specials for Comedy Central and Netflix, including The Girl of a Nation.

His death was mourned by fellow comedians including Larry the Cable Guy and Gabriel Iglesias. 

“Oh man fellow comedian and my friend Ralphie May just died. So crazy,” wrote Larry the Cable Guy on Twitter on Friday. “RIP Ralphie. You my friend were one of the nicest and kindest out there.”

“I’m at a loss for words to hear about the passing of comedian Ralphie May,” added Iglesias. “He was a friend to many and a father of 2 beautiful children.”

In 2015, May and his wife, comedian Lahna Turner, filed for divorce. The couple had two children, April June and August.


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Father Stunned by Son’s Arrest in Murder of Queens Jogger: ‘He’s Never Had a Fight in His 20 years’

The father of Chanel Lewis, the 20-year-old man who was arrested this weekend for the August 2016 murder of Queens, New York, jogger Karina Vetrano, told reporters that he was “extremely surprised” by the charges.

According to the New York Post, Richard Lewis, a 70-year-old former school principal, called his son a good student and “a very humble kid” when he met with reporters on Sunday.

“Chanel would never have gone to do what they say he has done,” the father said. “He’s never had a fight in his 20 years.”

In fact, Richard said his son, who lived with his mother and siblings in East New York, was previously the victim of crimes. He said Chanel was hospitalized last year after being mugged and hit in the head with a piece of wood by three people. Chanel was later mugged again by the assailants.

The dad said he would tell Vetrano’s family, “I’m sorry to hear about , but I’m sure that would not be a part of that.”

Vetrano’s parents, Phil and Cathy Vetrano, expressed mixed feelings to reporters outside their home.

“I’m not going to say it is a good day but we can move forward now,” Phil said after praising police for their investigative work, according to the New York Daily News. “We know who did this.”

“The demon must get his justice,” Cathy said. “We will see to it.”

 

At an NYPD press conference on Sunday, police said that they do not believe that Lewis knew Vetrano prior to her disappearance. They said he had no prior criminal history aside from some summonses. According to police, Lewis gave a DNA swab to authorities after an interview on Feb. 2. His DNA allegedly matched with DNA found on Vetrano. He has been booked on murder and sexual assault charges, according to police. It is not known how he pleads against the charges or if he has retained an attorney.

On Sunday he was seen leaving a police station in handcuffs while reporters and bystanders shouted at him. In a video from AM New York, Lewis looked around while he was led to a cop car, appearing stunned and confused, as people could be heard yelling “why’d you kill her?”

After six-month long search, the arrest took place Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, New York, according to the New York Daily News.

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Vetrano’s body was found in Spring Creek Park around 11 p.m. on Aug. 2, about a dozen feet from a jogging trail she used daily, according to police.

The 30-year-old was sexually assaulted and strangled after putting up a “ferocious fight,” investigators previously revealed. They further believe Vetrano bit her attacker, because her teeth showed signs of cracking and found DNA under her fingernails.


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