Harleen Grewal, 25, has been identified as the woman who was killed in a car accident on the Gowanus Expressway in New York around 4 a.m. on Friday. Grewal was in the vehicle with her friend, Saeed Ahmad (he was driving) when his car hit a concrete barrier and burst into flames.
Grewal was trapped inside the vehicle and her charred body was found by emergency personnel. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Here is what you need to know:
1. There’s a Video That Shows Ahmad Hailing a Cab While His Car Is on Fire
Witnesses told police that Ahmad was weaving his car in and out of traffic before crashing into a barrier. Within seconds after the initial impact, the car caught on fire. At least one person nearby took out a cell phone and recorded the scene, which showed flames completely engulfing the vehicle.
Also in that footage (you can see it in the video above), Ahmad can be seen hailing a cab, leaving his friend inside the car where she died.
He can be seen walking away from the burning vehicle and approaching the taxi, asking for a ride. He then hopped into the back seat and the cab took off.
2. Grewal’s Boyfriend Spoke Out Following Her Tragic Death
Grewal and Ahmad were just friends, despite some media outlets claiming that the two were “out on a date.” Grewal’s boyfriend, Karan Singh Dhillon, has spoken out following the death of his girlfriend. The couple just celebrated their 2-year anniversary together. They have known each other for 10 years, but didn’t start a romantic relationship until 2015.
“She would do anything for people. She would give someone the clothes off her back. She would give someone food and go hungry,” Dhillon told the New York Daily News. “She made me a better person. She was an angel. She had an impact on whoever she touched,” he added.
Dhillon also talked about Ahmad and said that he isn’t mad at him.
“If you get angry, you’re going the wrong way. Anger doesn’t solve anything. The biggest thing is forgiveness. He has to deal with what happened for the rest of his life,” Dhillon said.
3. Ahmad Is in the Hospital & Is Facing Manslaughter Charges
Flatlands, Brooklyn, resident Saeed Ahmad is the man that police say was driving the Infiniti 35G that caught on fire in the early hours of Friday morning. After leaving the scene of the accident, Ahmad was taken to Maimonides Hospital for medical attention as he suffered burns to his arms and his legs.
Police were able to track Ahmad and, according to the New York Daily News, he was charged with “manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, speeding, and driving with a suspended license.”
Ahmad told police that he had been drinking before the crash, but a blood-alcohol test showed that he was below the legal limit.
His brother, Waheed Ahmad, defended Saeed to the media.
“He did not just run away from the scene. He lost his phone in the car [and was] unable to call the ambulance. He tried to get her out. That’s how his hands and his legs and his neck got burned. He couldn’t get her out. The fire got too crazy. It just burned so quick. Everything is chaos right now. We are shocked. It’s horrifying for the girl and her family,” Waheed, 21, told the New York Daily News. “He’s emotionally distraught. Every time they ask him about what happened, he’s crying and screaming. His friend burned alive,” Waheed added.
Ahmad’s father also spoke to the media.
“I don’t know what happened yet, I need to see him, talk to him, find out what happened,’ Mohammad Azam told the New York Daily News.
4. Grewal Was the Daughter of Indian Immigrants & Was Beloved by Family & Friends
Grewal “was the daughter of immigrants from the state of Punjab in northern India,” neighbors told the New York Daily News. Those who loved and knew her best called her “Nina.”
“She was a very nice, very beautiful girl. Like my own daughter,” a woman who works with Grewal’s mother told the New York Daily News.
Her boyfriend also added that Grewal was so caring that she was often called “mom” by her friends.
5. Grewal Lived in Astoria & Worked in Sales
According to her Facebook page, Grewal was raised and had lived in Astoria, Queens, in New York. She listed her work status as “self employed” and also worked sales at BCBG Max Azaria, a popular clothing brand. A source close to her family said that she worked for a catering company.
Grewal graduated from Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics in 2010.
Her family told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that they don’t know much about what happened to their beloved daughter.