QUEENS — A Long Island man was indicted for a hate crime after calling a Sikh man “Osama” and then plowing into him with his pickup truck and dragging him down the street in Ozone Park last summer, the Queens District Attorney announced Wednesday.
Joseph Caleca, 55, from Setauket, charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime and assault as a hate crime and other crimes for the July 30 attack on 29-year-old Sandeep Singh, prosecutors said.
“The defendant is accused of an unprovoked attack that allegedly began with the defendant driving by the victim and his friends and calling him a terrorist and ordering him to leave the country,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
“After an exchange of words, the defendant allegedly struck the victim intentionally with his vehicle and dragged him along the street.”
Singh, who has two young children, was standing with three friends at the intersection of 101st Avenue and 99th Street a little after midnight when Caleca drove next to the group and said, “Move your [expletive deleted] ass. You’re [expletive deleted] slow, you [expletive deleted] Osama. Go back to your country,” according to the Queens DA.
Caleca then allegedly got out of truck and exchanged words with Singh. He then got back into his vehicle and drove into Singh, pinning him underneath the truck, according to the Queens DA.
Singh was treated at Jamaica hospital for back and abdominal injuries, internal bleeding, and several abrasions.