The driver who slammed into a mini-van in Canarsie last year and killed a 9-year-old girl who was in the back seat has been sentenced to four-to-twelve years in prison.
The fatal accident took place on May 4th of last year, and it was 63-year-old Kenneth Palache's second collision of the evening. Around 5 p.m., Palache ran a red light at the corner of East 87th Street and Foster Avenue, and collided with an SUV carrying a family of five. No one was seriously injured, but Palache, who was driving on a suspended license, fled the scene.
Police pulled him over within a mile, at the corner of Remsen Avenue and Avenue L. However, Panache fled the traffic stop, topping 50 miles per hour in two blocks, the News reports.
Driving south on Remsen, Palache ran a stoplight and collided with a westbound Hyundai Elantra at the corner of Avenue N. Nine-year-old Rebecca Ranmarine was riding in the Hyundai with family friends, having just attended church services. Jaws of life were required to open the totaled Hyundai, and Ranmarine was pronounced dead upon arrival at Brookdale Hospital. The driver, Esther Cummings, and her 11-year-old daughter Faith also suffered injuries.
Panache's lawyer Darren Fields told the News yesterday that his client was upset and distracted on the day of the accident because his daughter had just gone through a twin miscarriage. Fields told reporters, “He can’t really explain his actions, but he takes full responsibility." Palanche pleaded guilty to manslaughter and two counts of assault.
The Post reports that Rebecca's father Richard addressed the court yesterday. "There are no winners today," he said. "No amount of punishment is appropriate to ease the pain we feel one year later."
Still, according to the News, Richard Ranmarine expressed forgiveness in the immediate aftermath of yesterday's sentencing. “Knowing who my daughter was, she would not want us to hold him accountable,” he said. “She would forgive him.”
For his own part, Panache said, "I’d like to apologize to the people who are hurting. I mean that from the bottom of my heart." Fields suspects that his client will serve at least eight years.