I Cant Live Without Him Mom Of Teen Killed In LI Hit-And-Run AMAGANSETT, NY — Wednesday marked exactly two months since Mala Samtani lost her son. On Aug. 13, 18-year-old Devesh Samtani died after a hit-and-run crash in Amagansett four days earlier.
Everything was ahead for Devesh, his mother said: His family was visiting the Hamptons from Hong Kong, where they live, as they prepared their son for his first semester at New York University. But on a dark roadway in Amagansett, all of Samtani’s dreams for her son died as the driver who hit him sped off into the night.
The crash happened at 11:35 p.m. on Old Stone Highway near Eastwood Court when Daniel Campbell, 19, of Montauk, was driving north in a 2012 Honda Pilot and struck Devesh, who was walking in the road, police said. Campbell drove off and was arrested at his home at 2:43 a.m. Wednesday morning, police said.
Campbell was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. The SUV he was driving reportedly had 10 people inside, according to the East Hampton Star. Samtani was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he died, police said.
Two months later, Samtani is left trying to piece together the unthinkable — and create a way to memorialize her son, who was a published author in Hong Kong. He wrote and designed a book, “Ash’s Birthday Party,” to help children navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Devesh’s family — the entrepreneurs behind the Hong Kong-based “As Seen on TV” gadgets — is working with New York University to create a scholarship for students in financial need. A foundation will also be created to do good works in his name, his mother said.
But despite the plans to honor him, Samtani is struggling desperately to survive without her boy. Her husband and remaining two children are also broken with grief, she said.
“I feel so lost,” she said. “The pain is stabbing in my heart, every second. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat … People ask me, ‘Are you feeling better?’ How can I feel better? It’s the same loss. My son is still not with me.”
At night, Samtani sleeps in her son’s bed, his photo beside her, hugging his clothing tightly in her arms. She cannot make sense of what’s happened to her beloved boy.
“He was excited to go to college, to realize his goals, and just like that, he was taken away. I can’t stop thinking, ‘How did this happen? Why did this happen?’ It’s going to drive me insane. To deal with losing a child, those questions don’t stop in your mind.” Her voice breaking, she added: “I’m completely lost in life.”
In the morning, Samtani does not want to get up. “I just want to go and be with my son.”
Remembering those last, bright days, Samtani said her family arrived in the Hamptons on August 10.
“It was a normal family holiday,” she said.
Her brother, Samtani said, got the call. “We all ran to the hospital. It was something that I would not want anyone to go through, what I went through, the pain.”
She had just seen her son 45 minutes earlier.
“My brother dropped him off at a friend’s house and in 45 minutes, we got the call, telling us that he’d been hit. How can that be? He was just with us at a family dinner. It’s not possible. I wish I could say that this was just a bad dream but as time goes by you realize this was a nightmare. And it actually happened.”
Samtani does not want to accept that her son is gone. “I don’t want to believe that he has been taken away from me.”
Her son, she said, excelled in school. “He used to tell me that he was going to open a hedge fund. He was so good in school that his friends called him the ‘human calculator.’ I used to call him my ‘hedge fund boy.'”
Devesh loved math and economics and the scholarship will be dedicated to students pursuing careers in those fields. “Maybe someone else can become a ‘hedge fund boy’ for their parents,” she said.
Giving back was her son’s hallmark, Samtani said. From a young age, he was involved with charities, especially those organized to help children. “He was very passionate about children; that’s why he wrote a children’s book.”
Her son also created a brand, Humble Genes, and was designing hoodies and caps, Samtani said.
When his friends asked about the origin of the name Humble Genes, her son told them that during the pandemic, he realized how many had been affected and how grateful he was — how he cherished his family, she said.
“He said he realized how privileged our family w