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New York hit-and-run charge on Indian

New York, Oct. 2 (AP): An Indian-born college student has been charged in a drunken hit-and-run incident that killed a 24-year-old as she was crossing a New York street.

Julia M. Thomson was struck by a speeding Mercedes-Benz near her apartment around 4am on Sunday, police and witnesses said.

The driver, Tenzing Bhutia, was arraigned on Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Bhutia, 21, was charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

His blood alcohol level was 0.087 percent, a fraction over the 0.08 per cent upper limit, according to the complaint.

The complaint said Bhutia told the police he knew he hit something and did not stop.

Thomson was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a Manhattan hospital.

A witness said a black Mercedes side mirror was next to Thomson as she lay on the street bleeding.

The police later found a damaged black Mercedes in the city’s Queens borough.

The car, registered in the name of Bhutia’s father, was missing a passenger side mirror, had a smashed passenger side windshield and a dented front fender, the complaint said.

Bhutia’s lawyer, Edward Palermo, told the judge his client was born in India, came to America when he was seven years old, and is now a US citizen.

Bhutia’s sister, Kessang, 24, said their family is of Tibetan extraction.

He is a senior at Baruch College, where he is majoring in finance, and is an information technology employee at a New York City company, Palermo said.

The defendant’s father, Temdy Bhutia, told the police his son had driven the car early on Sunday, the complaint said.

Judge Tanya Kennedy set Bhutia’s bail at $75,000 (Rs 30 lakh) — $25,000 more than what assistant district attorney Dafna Yoran had asked for, and ordered him to surrender his passport.

Palermo said he expected his client to post bail.

His next court appearance is scheduled for October 5.

Thomson, a native of Edinburgh, had dual UK and US citizenship. She graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2005 and had a marketing job in New York, according to her page at myspace.com.

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