Drag-racer cut off Porsche, triggering fiery double-fatal crash, suit claims

PEARL RIVER — A wrongful death civil lawsuit charges that one of the drag-racers involved in the fiery double-fatal crash on Route 304 last fall cut off the other, triggering the crash that sent a Porsche hurtling to the train tracks below.

The family of Altin Nezaj is suing the drivers who now also face criminal charges in the crash, and the parents of the girl behind the wheel of the 2017 Porsche in which Nezaj and a second victim died.

The wrongful death suit, filed June 15 by Newburgh-based Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

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It charges that defendants Jason Castro, 44, of Nanuet, and Aisha Radoncic, (and her parents, Tifa Radoncic, and Naser Radoncic, who is also known as Naser Redzepagic) of Orangeburg were “negligent, wanton, reckless and careless” in causing the crash on Oct. 13, 2019.

The suit was filed in Rockland Supreme Court a week before Orangetown Police accused Aisha Radoncic and Castro of driving recklessly as they raced on Route 304, causing the crash that also killed Radoncic’s cousin, 15-year-old Saniha Cekic of Brooklyn.

Radoncic, who was 17 at the time of the crash, was treated at the Westchester Medical Center and released. Castro, then 43, was unharmed.

Orangetown police arrested Radoncic June 22 and Castro the following day. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminally negligent homicide.

Orangetown Police Capt. James Brown said the incident is an open criminal case and certain information cannot be released at this time.

But attorney Andrew Finkelstein, whose firm represents the Nezaj family, said his investigators found that Castro’s 2013 Volkswagen Jetta cut into Radoncic’s lane. Her 2017 Porsche Macan then plunged off the Route 304 overpass onto the Pascack Valley line railroad tracks below, bursting into flames.

The suit holds Radoncic’s parents responsible for giving the teenager permission to drive the vehicle.

It faults the defendants for causing or allowing the “vehicles to travel at an unsafe speed and come into contact with each other,” and for a litany of other failures, including: speeding, losing control, not keeping a lookout, failing to stop or slow down, failing to brake and to properly steer, failing to keep in the proper lane, failing to yield the right-of-way, changing lanes unsafely and failing to sound the horn.

Castro, the suit charges, “was further negligent in negligently entering the path of the other vehicle” in which Nezaj was a passenger.

The “defendants acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others,” the suit charges.

Attorney Gerard Damiani, representing Castro on the criminal complaint, said his client’s insurance company will handle the wrongful-death claim. If the claim seeks damages beyond the limit of Castro’s insurance policy, Damiani explained, he would have to hire an additional attorney. New City attorney John Hughes represents Radoncic on the criminal case, and would offer no comment on the civil suit.