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Witness: Man charged for deadly crash in Highland Park was racing before crash

Abeer Viriani, 34, was seriously injured in this crash. He was charged with aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Jun 14, 2023, 5:07 PM

Updated 372 days ago

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A man who has been charged in connection with a deadly crash in Highland Park Tuesday afternoon was racing at least one other car just before the crash, according to a witness.
Abeer Viriani, 34, was seriously injured in this crash. He was charged with aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
A witness tells News 12 New Jersey that Viriani was racing along Route 27 with at least one other car when he hit a Subaru at the intersection with North 10th Street.
Inside that Subaru were Peter Palmer, 75, and Carol Paul, 77. The Subaru slammed into a utility pole, while Viriani’s Mercedes ended up on the grass at a nearby mechanic’s shop.
Palmer and Paul were killed in the crash. Police say that a third car, a Hyundai Elantra, was also hit.
Those who live in the area say that this intersection is dangerous.
"I've been witness to maybe 30 accidents on this corner, easy," says resident Dana Cappa. "The speed limit is 30 mph, and they were going 80, 90 maybe."
Cappa lives on 10th Street and was at work nearby when she heard the cars speed by and then crash. She says she rushed over to help and realized she knew the couple that died as the parents of a neighbor. They had been visiting with family. Authorities say the couple lived in Easton, Maryland.
“Grandparents were just coming here to see their kids. Going out to get a cup of coffee,” she says.
Cappa says that she also stopped a second car, a BMW which she says had been racing with the Mercedes. Cappa says the driver initially tried to take off but then got out of the car to check on his friend.
She says she'd like to see a stoplight installed at this intersection.
The prosecutor says that Viriani is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
It was not clear if the driver of the BMW would be facing any charges.


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