The Hamptons motorist who mowed down an 18-year-old has been sentenced to three months in prison after the teen’s devastated family pleaded with court to jail him.
Daniel Campbell, 20, fatally struck Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani on Aug. 10, 2021 with his Honda Pilot on Old Stone Highway in Amagansett with such force that he was thrown six feet into the air. At the time, Campbell had nine other people in his car.
He had been labeled a ‘driving threat’ after committing a series of driving violations, including speeding days before the fatal accident, a head-on collision and even having his driver’s license taken away.
Campbell first pleaded guilty on August 5 to a single charge of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in the victim’s death.
At the time, Judge Richard Ambro said he planned to sentence Campbell — whose mother owns a boutique in Montauk and whose father is SVP at a luxury furniture store — to six months of community service instead of jail time.
That decision, which was met with outrage by Samtani’s parents, who traveled to court hearings from Hong Kong, urged him to reconsider.
On Thursday, Ambro sentenced Campbell to 90 days in prison, 450 hours of community service and five years’ probation.
Before Campbell was handcuffed from the Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead, Campbell addressed his victim’s family for the first time since the tragedy.
“The night of the accident was a terrible tragedy. My lawyers said I couldn’t speak for a year, but I wish I could have met the family and told them how sorry I was for ruining their whole lives. I’m sorry for all the pain and destruction,” he told Samtani’s parents.
Daniel Campbell, 20, fatally struck Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani in Amagansett on August 10, 2021. He was sentenced to three months in prison on Thursday
Devesh ‘Devu’ Samtani, 18, had planned to attend NYU in the fall of 2021, weeks before his life was cut short when Campbell plowed into the teen on August 10, 2021 and killed him.
Samtani’s parents, Kishore and Mala Santani, hold a photo of their son and a cap he’s wearing, out of court before Campbell’s conviction
Campbell arrives at court for his sentencing, flanked by his mother Gretchen Smith Campbell (left) who owns a boutique in Montauk, and his father, Daniel Campbell (right) – the SVP of a modern luxury furniture company
“I wish I’d gone to Stony Brook Hospital to see your son. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the pain you went through. I wish I didn’t panic. I would give anything to change that night and change the outcome.
I prayed every night while he was in the hospital. You showed me what a beautiful son he was. I know the loss will be with you forever. I know you may never forgive me, but know how repentant and sorry I am. I’m sorry guys.’
On the night Samtani was killed, he had been walking along Old Stone Highway with his cousin Kabir Kurani, 18, and their friends trying to get help getting an Uber home.
But he was hit by Campbell – who was driving a Honda Pilot with nine passengers – so hard that he flew six feet into the air, with his shoes off his feet.
Campbell then drove off, leaving the NYU economics student to die on the highway, surrounded by his friends.
During Campbell’s sentencing on Thursday, Judge Ambro claimed he was unaware of Campbell’s three previous car accidents until he was informed by the prosecution and Samtani’s lawyer.
‘On September 9, I was informed of three accidents and a speeding fine. I could no longer keep the commitment without jail time,” he said.
The tragic accident happened on Old Stone Highway, near the bend of the road at Eastwood Court, according to the accident report. The driver identified as Daniel Campbell, 20, plowed into Devu and continued to drive. His 2012 Honda Pilot was packed with 9 passengers
Daniel Campbell outside his mother’s Montauk boutique, Bontemps, in August
Campbell was involved in at least two crashes before the fatal night – including in February 2021 when he drove in the wrong direction down a one-way street in White Plains, New York
He added that Campbell had turned down a trial after pleading guilty in August, and that the 90-day sentence was “fair and reasonable”.
As part of his sentence, Campbell’s license will be revoked and he will be fined $2,000.
At least 30 members of Samtani’s family, including his parents Kishore and Mala Samtani, attended the court hearing.
Before sentencing, Kishore Samtani told DailyMail.com that Campbell had previously asked the judge to postpone his sentencing so he could spend Thanksgiving with his family.
On August 25, Campbell asked for a stay of sentencing because he wanted to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family. Gratitude for what? Thank God for what…for getting off? So he’ll miss Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said.
“I’ve heard they’re angry about this and if they’re angry about this, what about our position.”
Kishore Samtani said he was furious that Campbell’s driving history was only discovered after the family hired a private investigator and said, “It doesn’t seem right.”
‘I’m tired. We’re going back. There’s nothing we can do. Right. It makes no difference to us – one year two years. Actually, we are not happy with the system. We could afford lawyers. We could afford detectives. So we have his three months. What about the common people? They won’t be able to do anything,” he said.
“There was a lot of frustration in our family… We’ve set something up, an example for other children – come on, please don’t leave someone dying.”
Daniel Campbell (center) arrives in court for his sentencing, flanked by his lawyers
Campbell (left left) was sentenced to 90 days in prison after the judge – who had previously promised not to incarcerate him – learned he had committed a series of driving violations
Campbell was involved in at least two crashes the night he killed Samtani – including in February 2021 when he was driving in the wrong direction down a one-way street in White Plains, New York.
It happened five months before the horrific death of aspiring New York University freshman Samtani.
And just eight days before the fatal crash, Campbell was awarded six points for a speeding violation in the Bronx in June 2021.
But his careless driving history stretches back to 2020 with multiple violations, including 8 points off his driver’s license which he collected in less than a year, according to documents seen by DailyMail.com.
Celebrity attorney Benjamin Brafman, who represents Samtani’s devastated family, told DailyMail.com in September: “One of the accidents he was involved in was a head-on collision with another vehicle on a road clearly marked one-way.
“He was walking in the wrong direction. It was a miracle that no one was killed or injured.’
Speaking of Campbell himself, Brafman added, “We describe him as a driving threat.”
More than 30 of Samtani’s family and friends traveled to Long Island for Thursday’s sentencing
Samtani’s mother, Mala, looks devastated when speaking to people before sentencing
In addition to the previous collisions and speeding violations, in May 2021 Campbell was awarded two points on his driver’s license for disobeying traffic equipment in the town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County.
He was also fined a total of $184 for driving an uninspected and unregistered vehicle in Westchester County in November 2020.
Campbell was seen in his mother’s Montauk boutique, Bontemps, in the months leading up to his sentencing. He and his family live in the area part-time, with their primary residence in Hastings-on-the-Hudson in Westchester County.
The family business, which opened in the spring of 2021, is a beachwear store that sells hoodies, sandals, hats, beach bags and sunglasses, among other thingswith annual sales of nearly a million dollars, public records show.
Campbell’s father, Daniel Campbell, 51, is the SVP of a modern luxury furniture company, which he has worked for for more than 17 years, according to his Linkedin profile.
His mother Gretchen Smith Campbell, 52, told DailyMail.com she had “no comment” when asked about details surrounding the night of the crash.