A killer Hamptons hit-and-run driver who mowed down an 18-year-old had a slew of previous traffic offenses – including speeding tickets, a suspended license, and causing a head-on collision, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Daniel Campbell, 20, has racked up a catalogue of reckless driving violations – one of which occurred just weeks before he ran over and killed Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani on the Old Stone Highway in Amagansett on August 10, 2021.
Campbell, who was 19 at the time, plowed his Honda Pilot straight into math and economics student Samtani, 18, while he had nine other people in his car before fleeing the scene.
But the man from Montauk, who was dubbed a ‘driving menace’, was spared jail and was instead given community service – in what the victim’s parents believe is an appalling miscarriage of justice.
It’s now been revealed that Campbell was involved in at least two crashes before the fatal night – including in February 2021 when he drove down a one way street in White Plains, New York, in the wrong direction.
It happened five months before incoming New York University freshman Samtani’s horrific death.
And just eight days prior to the fatal smash, Campbell was slapped with six points over a June 2021 speeding offense in the Bronx.
But his heedless driving history goes back to 2020 with multiple violations, including 8 points off of his license that he racked up in less than a year’s time, according to documents seen by DailyMail.com.
Daniel Campbell was spotted last week outside his mother’s Montauk boutique, Bontemps. It’s now been revealed that the ‘driving menace’ has a slew of previous misdemeanors – including speeding fines and a suspended license
Danielle Campbell, now 20, at the August 5th hearing at Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead, New York
It’s now been revealed that Campbell was involved in at least two crashes before the fatal night – including in February 2021 when he drove down a one way street in White Plains, New York, in the wrong direction
Celebrity lawyer Benjamin Brafman, who is now representing Samtani’s devastated family, told DailyMail.com: ‘One of the accidents he was involved in was a head-on collision with another vehicle on a road that was clearly marked one-way.
‘He was headed in the wrong direction. It was a miracle that no one was killed or hurt.’
Speaking about Campbell himself, Brafman added: ‘We describe him as a driving menace.’
As well as the previous collisions and speeding tickets, Campbell was handed two points on his license in May 2021 for disobeying traffic devices in the town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County.
He was also fined a total of $184 for driving an uninspected and unregistered vehicle in November 2020 in Westchester County.
Brafman hopes the findings will persuade Suffolk County Judge Richard Ambro to change his mind and sentence Campbell to prison when he next appears before a court September 22.
The celebrity lawyer has a string of impressive former clients – include Michael Jackson, music mogul P. Diddy, Jay Z and Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro.
Last week, Campbell was seen working at his mother’s Montauk boutique, Bontemps. He and his family lives part-time in area, with their primary residence in Hastings-on-the-Hudson in Westchester County.
The family-owned store, which opened in spring of 2021, is a beach clothing store that sells hoodies, sandals, hats, beach bags and sunglasses among other items, that has generated close to a million dollars in annual sales, public records show.
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
Mala and Kishore Samtani hold a photo of their son, Devu. The grieving parents want justice for their son. Mala told DailyMail.com she carries that photo of her son wherever she goes
Campbell’s father, Daniel Campbell, 51, is the SVP of a modern luxury furnishings firm, that he has been with for more than 17 years, according to his Linkedin profile.
His mother Gretchen Smith Campbell, 52, told DailyMail.com that she ‘had no comment’ when asked about the details surrounding the night of the crash.
Meanwhile, Campbell sat motionless behind did not utter a word when asked him if he had anything at all to say about that horrific night.
The victim’s parents Mala and Kishore Samtani, who are originally from Hong Kong, say that a witness at the scene told them Campbell struck their son so hard ‘his sneakers flew off of his feet,’ and that the victim ‘flew over (the eyewitness’s) head.’
Kishore added that he went back to the site of the accident on Old Stone Highway with the attorney and scorned Campbell’s claim that he’d been driving at 25mph when he struck Samtani.
‘My son was 6 foot 1 inches tall and he was very strong,’ he said. ‘How is it possible to go 25mph? It is not possible. No way. If he was driving that speed maybe you can get hurt but the car scooped my son up giving him a somersault. That cannot happen at 25mph.’
Samtani’s mom Mala said she would ask Campbell: ‘Why did you strike my son so hard that my son got killed? Why? Why? Why?’
‘What we want to say is that you [Campbell] didn’t call 911 for medical assistance. You didn’t stop to help. You fled the scene. You knew what you did because you got out from the car a little further down and the girls wanted to go back.
‘You did see the damage. You dropped your sister’s friends. You swapped the car. You met a friend. You are swapping a car and going elsewhere,’ she said.
‘You are in the right frame of mind. It’s like you didn’t care. You were more worried about saving yourself and that no one should know that it was your fault.’
Mala said that if it weren’t for two female passengers who were in Campbell’s car at the time of the accident and who took a photo of his license plate number they would have never known, who the person was behind the wheel.
‘The sister’s friends took the photo,’ Kishore said. ‘They did not want to be associated with the hit and run.’
The devastated mother added: ‘(Campbell) killed a human. He has to understand that he has taken a human life. At least a minimum he should get six months.
‘If he is scot-free what are we teaching our kids. It’s like we are saying you can hit, run, kill and get off.’
Samtani’s parents have now hired star lawyer Benjamin Brafman to try and get Campbell thrown into jail. Brafman, whose former clients include Michael Jackson, music mogul P. Diddy, Jay Z and Martin Shkreli, aka Pharma Bro, has uncovered two prior instances of Campbell’s terrible driving – both of which happened just months before Samtani’s death
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
Kishore Samtani (left) and Mala (right) at the court hearing on August 5, 2022 at Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead. ‘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,’ Mala said
On being apprehended by police on the night of the fatal crash, Campbell told 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.’
One year on, Campbell pleaded guilty to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident and causing Samtani’s death.
But, under a plea deal with Judge Richard Ambro, 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.
The judge’s decision was devastating news to the Samtani family.
Mala and Kishore Samtani shared their heartache with the DailyMail.com when they heard the devastating verdict that Campbell that he would serve no jail time.
They added: ‘We hired Mr. Benjamin Brafman for guidance. We are not from here. We know the laws in Hong Kong but we don’t know the laws from here.’
Brafman told DailyMail.com that he spoke to the Assistant District Attorney in the case, who said they’d recommended one to three years’ imprisonment.
He also spoke with the probation officer, and says she was unaware of Campbell’s repeated driving incidents.
The lawyer says he believes the officer was unaware of the ‘extensive driving record of this young man,’ and ‘through no fault of her own did not have the opportunity to meet with the family of the deceased.’
On August 12, Samtani’s parents did meet with the probation officer, and Brafman said she was ‘gracious and concerned with their sense of outrage and loss.’
‘If we manage to convince the court to reconsider revoking (the judge’s) promise at the time of the plea and are asking for six months jail time.’
In the August 11 accident report from the East Hampton Police Department, Campbell said ‘I think I was driving about 20 to 25 miles per hour.’
He added: ‘I was limited with how much I could swerve because of oncoming traffic and the congestion of the road. Since I had no time to react I hit this kid with the front passenger side of my vehicle and I think my side mirror on the passenger side.
‘After hitting him, I drove about one hundred feet down the road and pulled over. I was trying to process what just happened.
‘At first, I just thought this kid was just bumped into with my car and hit my mirror so I didn’t think it was anything serious. I get out of my car and could see that the front passenger headlight was cracked and there was damage to the front side of the vehicle.’
He admitted that this wasn’t the first time he had been in a car accident, according to the report.
‘I’ve been in car accidents in the past but was never involved in an accident where someone got hurt,’ he said.
Last week, 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.’
Devu was an incoming NYU student who had arrived in the US from Hong Kong just days earlier.
He had just had dinner and his cousin Kabir Kurani, 18, wanted Devu to meet some of his friends. The pair planned on going to a house party on Timber Trail, where there were about 800 and 1,000 people partying.
Devu and his cousin were walking with a group of other students trying to get to an area where there was cell service, so they could call and Uber to go back to Kurani’s home.
The teen was then mowed down by the car. Kurani said he heard a jarring noise that was so loud it felt like ‘two bullets’ and then saw his cousin lying on the ground bleeding and unconscious.
Kurani, who grew up with Devu and felt like they were more like brothers, was traumatized.
‘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 told DailyMail.com.
Samtani, seen with his parents Mala and Kishore, who are praying that they will get justice for their son seen here during happier times
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
Kabir Kurani, 18, pictured with his cousin Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani (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
Before Samtani’s life was taken so tragically, Mala and Kishore described how their son was in love and in a relationship with a girl that he had known for a long time in Hong Kong.
Kishore shared a beautiful letter his son wrote to his love before they parted ways to go to university. He said the loss has been unbearable for her as well.
Like Kishore, who got a tattoo of his son’s face on his forearm and a tattoo of his name, he said his son’s girlfriend got a tattoo of the last words Samtani said to her, ‘until we see each other again.’ The second tattoo was a rose on her hand that symbolized the rose Samtani gave her on their first date.
Mala said that 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.
Kishore has a tattoo of his son’s smiling face that is located on is forearm for all to see
She said that last year, August 27, 2021, was the date Devu was supposed to move into his dorm as an incoming freshman at New York University studying math and economics.
‘When I sleep at night I ask him, How’s college? How are you doing? Are you going to the restaurant?’
‘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,’ she said.
Kishore sits next to Mala getting emotional as he looks at videos of their son when he was a child singing and dancing at different family occasions they had.
‘He was not shy,’ Kishore said as his eyes welled up, watching his son singing to a crowd of people at only age seven.
‘The ultimate tragedy is to lose your child,’ Mala side. ‘I am still in denial.’
Some of the locals in the beachside village of Montauk that were out along Route 27 shared with DailyMail.com the outrage they felt when they heard about Campbell’s no jail time.
‘It’s preposterous’ said one person, that asked to remain anonymous.
Another added: ‘The general consensus felt was that it was unjust for the [Samtani] family. People were thinking that the white privilege was showing.’
She said: ‘The fact that he [Campbell] drove away changes from an accident to intentional. I don’t care if the victim was a brilliant NYU student or worked at 7-11. If I hit someone and killed someone I feel like I should go to jail.’
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11146995/Hamptons-hit-run-driver-19-slew-driving-offenses-mowed-victim-18.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Hamptons hit-and-run driver, 19, had slew of driving offenses BEFORE he mowed down victim, 18