//Youth charged with causing death of friend

Youth charged with causing death of friend

SILICON VALLEY — A Seattle-based Indian youth has been charged with causing death of his teenage friend, also an NRI, in a crash which police believed was the result of road racing between the two.

18-year-old Sukhneet Singh Virk pleaded not guilty to the vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges following the death of 16-year-old Rishi Sodhi in the crash along the Coal Creek Parkway on January 25. Both friends were enrolled in the Running Start programme at Bellevue Community College (BCC). They were racing south along Coal Creek Parkway at speeds estimated at 70 to 90 mph when Rishi lost control of his BMW and crashed into oncoming traffic, according to charges.

On Thursday, a Seattle judge set Sukhneet’s bail at USD 100,000. He was released from jail after posting bond. Rishi was the youngest of two sons of Virender and Rekha Sodhi, both well known for their support of the Eastside Hindu community. Virender Sodhi is a naturopath and practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine. The Sodhi family described Rishi as having a warm heart and loving nature. "He was one of those rare individuals who were able to meet people quickly and befriend them easily," it said in a statement, according to King County Journal. Sukhneet is the son of Bellevue optometrist Sarbjit Singh Virk, who is prominent in the region’s Sikh community. According to court documents, officers responding to the crash reported that Sukhneet admitted he was racing with Rishi and said he could’ve done more to help save his life. "If the collision is attributed to road racing, this would be first such fatality (in Bellevue) in well over 20 years," police spokesman Michael Chiu was quoted as saying