Uber driver charged in car-surfing death of Long Island teen

Posted: Updated:
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. -

A Long Island Uber driver has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a teenage passenger who fell off the roof of his vehicle while car surfing.

Danyal Cheema, 24, of Huntington Station, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Central Islip Monday.

Prosecutors say Cheema was driving three teenage boys who had been partying on the night of Sept. 23 when he allowed them to "car surf" after they offered to pay him $40.

Prosecutors say 15-year-old Ryan Mullen and another boy climbed onto the roof while a third teen recorded them for Snapchat.

Mullen then fell and struck his head on the pavement. He died in his sleep at home later that morning.

Cheema was charged with second-degree manslaughter. In court, his attorney said that his client has no criminal history and would return to court for future hearings. But the judge ordered Cheema held in lieu of $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond.

Cheema's family did not comment after arraignment.

An Uber spokesperson told News 12 in a statement: "Our thoughts are with the rider's family during this difficult time. This driver has been permanently removed from the app."

If found guilty, Cheema faces up to 15 years in prison.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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