Man accused of attempting to kill his ex-wife, son
BEAVERDALE - A Mount Carmel man was taken into custody late Saturday after being accused of attempting to kill his ex-wife and 7-year-old son by driving at a high rate of speed and crashing into a monument at St. John the Baptist Cemetery.
Preetinder Singh Dhindsa, 34, of 327 S. Beech St., was involved in a domestic disturbance in front of the residence of his former wife, Manjit Dhindsa, of 538 W. Third St., Mount Carmel, before the accident, and remained in Northumberland County Prison Monday in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.
He is charged by Patrolman Daniel Politza with misdemeanors of unlawful restraint (two counts), recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child and driving under the influence of alcohol (two counts), and summary offenses of reckless driving, accidents involving damage to unattended property and failure to give immediate notice of an accident to police.
Upon responding to the accident at 11 p.m., Politza, Mount Carmel Officer Kevin Katch and borough Police Chief Todd Owens observed a silver Nissan sedan with moderate to heavy damage to its driver's side front end. Police said the car was on the shoulder of the road just east of Mount Carmel Cemetery.
Police said they then spotted the defendant, his ex-wife and their son, Haneet Dhindsa, standing outside the vehicle.
Police said Manjit Dhindsa, who was hysterical, told them her ex-husband was trying to kill her and her son. She admitted having an argument with her ex-husband outside her home before a neighbor told them to quiet down. She said the trio then got inside her former husband's vehicle and began traveling west on State Route 2038. She said Preetinder Dhindsa drove at a high rate of speed despite her attempts to get him to slow down.
As the car crested a hill on State Route 2038 near St. John the Baptist Cemetery, the defendant reportedly jerked the steering wheel, causing the auto to strike a large cement monument at the entrance to the cemetery. After hitting the monument, Dhindsa turned the vehicle around and began to go east on the highway before finally stopping the car near the entrance to Dooleyville.
Manjit Dhindsa said at one point prior to the accident, her ex-husband yelled that he was going to kill all of them.
The victim, who told police the car hit the monument so hard that pieces of the vehicle flew everywhere, stated, "I was very scared that he was going to hurt us or kill us. I was scared for my son, who was crying in the car."
Manjit Dhindsa's neighbor, Erica Noll, told police she heard a disturbance outside her home and witnessed the defendant suddenly pull away while spinning his vehicle's tires, causing rocks to fly. Noll said the driver was traveling very fast and was out of sight in only a few seconds.
Owens said Preetinder Dhindsa left a skid mark approximately 98 feet long on West Third Street at the township/borough line.
Asked by Politza about the accident, the defendant claimed the reason he wrecked was because an oncoming vehicle blinded him with its high beams. While speaking with Dhindsa, Politza detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and noticed that he had red, glossy eyes, he reported.
Dhindsa was taken into custody, transported to the police station and then escorted to the county prison, where he was placed in a holding cell before being arraigned by video Sunday morning by on-call Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones.
Police said the defendant submitted to a preliminary breath test with the results being .168 percent. He also agreed to have a blood test taken at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital. Results are pending.
Dhindsa is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Jones.