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Joseph Caleca charged with hate crimes after hitting, dragging Sandeep Singh in Queens, DA says

An NYPD patrol car.

An NYPD patrol car. Photo Credit: iStock

A Setauket man who yelled "anti-Muslim" remarks at another man before running him over with his truck has been arrested on hate crime charges, including attempted murder, authorities said Tuesday.

Joseph Caleca, 55, awaited arraignment Tuesday afternoon on attempted murder and assault as hate crimes charges after running over and dragging Sandeep Singh, 29, who was getting out of a parked car in Ozone Park shortly after midnight on July 30, police said.

Singh, a Sikh man, was blocking Caleca's way on 99th Street near 101st Street as he got out of the car, leading to an argument, police said.

Caleca shouted and cursed at Singh and his three friends to move, yelling "Osama" and "Go back to your country," Queens prosecutors said.

After parking his pickup and confronting the group, Caleca went back to his vehicle and drove head-on into Singh, prosecutors said.

Police said Caleca "accelerated slightly, bumping the victim" before accelerating again, running over Singh and dragging him several feet.

The victim, caught in the pickup's undercarriage, was dragged along the street for several feet until his body was dislodged, authorities said. Caleca then sped away, they said.

Singh was taken to Jamaica Hospital with injuries to his back and abdomen, along with several abrasions, police said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the victim had surgery for internal bleeding and got several staples to his mid-section.

Caleca, of 7 Glatter Lane, also was charged with leaving the scene without reporting.

Brown called Caleca's insults "vile" and said the man faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said police arrested Caleca after looking for his GMC Sierra pickup and said Singh's friends identified him in a lineup.

With Gary Dymski

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