Suffolk DA: Uber driver culpable in teen's car-surfing death

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HUNTINGTON -

Suffolk County prosecutors say an Uber driver faces manslaughter charges in connection with the car-surfing death of a teenager.

Prosecutors say 15-year-old Ryan Mullen's fatal injuries happened Sept. 23 along Cove Road in Huntington. They say Mullen and two other teens had been drinking when they ordered an Uber ride driven by 25-year-old Danyal Cheema. They say the teens offered Cheema $40 to allow them to get on the roof of the SUV to shoot a Snapchat video.

Police say Mullen fell from the top of the car while it was moving, slamming his head against the pavement. Mullen died several hours later, in his sleep at home.

Cheema is now charged with second-degree manslaughter. In court, his attorney said 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."

Parents of students at St. Anthony's High School in Melville, which Mullen attended, say they're trying their best to support the Mullen family.

If found guilty, Cheema faces up to 15 years in prison. He's due back in court Friday.

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