Volume 17 • Issue 12 / August 13 - 19, 2004

Sentenced in killing of Tribeca manager

The driver who killed Peter Hornbeck, the popular bakery manager of Bazzini’s Gourmet outlet in Tribeca, in a hit-and-run accident on the Upper East Side last January, was sentenced this week to a maximum of nine years in prison.

Gurpreet Oberoi, 26, who pleaded guilty in July to felony manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, heard the sentence on Tues. Aug. 10 from State Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon, who called the hit-and-run killing “one of the few crimes that really bothers me more than others.”

Oberoi’s sentence of three-to-nine years was part of a plea bargain that Hornbeck’s family agreed to in order to avoid a trial and the anguish of hearing the details of the death, according to a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.

Oberoi, whose license had been revoked long before the incident, was driving his father’s S.U.V. at 75 miles per hour on Sat., Jan. 10 when he struck Hornbeck, who was crossing Park Ave. at E. 96th St. with a group of friends. Hornbeck’s body was dragged for a block as his friends screamed vainly to stop the vehicle.

Oberoi abandoned the car a short time later and then took a bus to Atlantic City, where he spent the night gambling. Two friends who were in the car at the time of the accident fled but called police later after Oberoi phoned them and asked them to bring him cash and his passport so that he could flee.

Oberoi said at the sentencing this week that he was sorry, but he did not face the Hornbeck family sitting in the front row of Justice Solomon’s court. Oberoi’s license had been revoked for speeding, failing to pay fines and failing to respond to summonses. His father had reported the S.U.V. stolen a few hours before the accident.

Peter Hornbeck, 26, had been working at Bazzini’s for three years and became a favorite of Tribeca youngsters who patronized the soda fountain that he managed when he first worked at the Tribeca store. A native of Watertown, he studied environmental science at State University of New York in Buffalo and was planning to earn a masters degree at Hunter in Manhattan and become a teacher like his parents.

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