By Matthew Chayes
August 20, 2021
The alleged hit-and-run driver in last week’s crash that killed a Hamptons partygoer told police that”I freaked out” before fleeing and “I thought I killed him,” according to a criminal complaint.
At an arraignment Thursday on a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in serious injury, the driver, Daniel Campbell, 19, of Montauk, was freed on the condition he wear a GPS monitor, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, wrote in an email.
The partygoer, 18-year-old Devesh Samtani of Hong Kong, died three days after the Aug. 10 crash. He had been summering in the Hamptons with his family before he was to begin freshman year at New York University. Samtani had gone to the party, which was at a house in Amagansett; he was among a large crowd spilling out of the party when Campbell, driving his SUV, struck Samtani, police have said.
Campbell was arrested at his home several hours after the crash, based on a description of his vehicle and license plates provided by other partygoers, police have said. A funeral for Samtani, who sustained head trauma and died at Stony Brook University Hospital, was held Wednesday in Manhattan.
The criminal complaint, sworn to by East Hampton Town Police Officer Bradley S. Hughes, quotes the gist of Campbell’s alleged “oral admission.”
“Yes I hit the guy he was in the road though I knew I should have stayed but I freaked out. … To be a hundred percent honest with you guys when I looked at the damage I thought I killed him,” Campbell said, according to the complaint.
The district attorney’s spokesperson, Sheila M. Kelly, identified Campbell’s defense attorneys as Edward Burke and Anthony DiFiore, neither of whom immediately returned messages seeking comment Thursday night, nor has Campbell himself been reachable for comment.