Tag Archives: accident

Taxi driver dies in Richmond Hill accident


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Kew Gardens man was killed Friday afternoon after crashing his yellow taxi into two parked cars, police said.

Ved Wadhwa, 56, was driving down 118th Street near 95th Avenue about 3:40 p.m. when he veered to the left striking a parked vehicle, and then to the right, into another parked vehicle, according to the NYPD.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

There were no passengers in the taxi at the time of the accident, police said.

There investigation is ongoing.

 

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Driver smashes cars in accident outside Bay Terrace poll site


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An elderly man smashed into two parked cars outside of a Bay Terrace poll site Tuesday while he was trying to drive out of a parking spot, witnesses said.

The man, who declined to give his name or age, said he had just voted at P.S. 169 at around noon when the collision occurred.

Witnesses said the driver rammed into the car in front of him and behind him multiple times. Nobody was in either car and the driver was not injured.

 “I heard the first smash and came over,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who was at the school to support his brother, City Council candidate Paul Vallone.

“He just kept on going backwards and forward. He must have done it three or four times,” Vallone Jr. said. “I kept yelling, ‘Stop the car,’ but he sped away on the other side of the street.”

The man soon returned to the scene, according to a poll worker. Police arrived but did not charge him with a crime.

 

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Driver kills man in Flushing


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A sleep-deprived driver has been arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident after he allegedly mowed down and killed a pedestrian in Flushing, police said.

Shiwoo Lee, 22, of Oakland Gardens, told authorities he fell asleep behind the wheel on Saturday, October 20 around 6 a.m. when his 2007 Toyota Rav 4 veered off the road and struck a tree at the intersection of 164th Street and Booth Memorial Avenue, according to a criminal complaint. The vehicle also struck Vito Florio, 76, when it jumped the curb, cops said.

Florio, whose body was found lying in a wooded area with severe body trauma, was declared dead on arrival, according to police.

Lee told cops he had been awake for two days straight and was on his way back from Manhattan, driving four other passengers, when he began nodding off, according to a criminal complaint.

The group exited the vehicle and fled on foot after the collision, said authorities, who found blood on the hood and a broken headlight off Lee’s car.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Loved ones mourn as Prep teen laid to rest after tragic death


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter

Loved ones who gathered at a wake on Labor Day to mourn the popular St. Francis Prep teen killed Friday in a gruesome party bus accident remembered him as a hilarious, fun-loving boy with a permanent smile pressed on his face.

“He was always cracking jokes,” said classmate Noah Buttner, 15. “He made [geometry class] a lot of fun. If he smiled, no matter how bad your day was going, you had to smile back.”

Daniel Fernandez, a 16-year-old incoming Prep junior, died in a bloody freak accident on the night of Friday, August 31, when he smashed his head on the underside of a New Jersey overpass after poking out of an emergency hatch on the top of a double-decker party bus, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson Steve Coleman.  

The bus had just traveled over the George Washington Bridge going westbound when the accident occurred shortly before 7 p.m., Coleman said. Fernandez struck the underside of the Fletcher Avenue overpass, just west of the bridge in Fort Lee, and was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead with severe head trauma.

The Designer Limousine bus was loaded with 65 teens en route to a Sweet 16 in Garfield, New Jersey, Coleman said. There were only two adults on board — the bus driver and a male safety attended provided by the transportation company, who was not required to be present by law, according to Designer spokesperson Kyle Kotary.

The safety employee, Kotary said, had warned Fernandez and his pals to get down from their seats and to stop opening the hatch before heading down to ask the driver to turn up the air conditioning.

“In that split minute he had gone downstairs, somebody had opened the hatch and that’s when the accident occurred,” Kotary said. “That’s how it went down as the safety attendant described it.”

According to Kotary, the parents of the girl hosting the Sweet 16 party rented the bus for the Queens group. He said to his knowledge, the partying pals did not have alcohol on the bus, but could not confirm if the group had been drinking before boarding. Designer employees had confiscated one backpack, one “gift box” and one “iced tea colored bottle” from the teens before the bus departed, Kotary said.

“This was a sad and tragic accident caused by a poor decision to ignore repeated verbal warnings from the safety attendant and clearly marked written warnings on the vehicle,” Designer said in a statement.

Some of the ready-to-party teens, who began their trip at their Fresh Meadows high school, took to Twitter minutes after the horrific tragedy.

“Sitting here with your blood on my foot wishing this was all a bad dream,” said party-goer Vicky Budz, who told her 354 followers 12 hours earlier she was “raging tonight.”

“Feel like my insides are being ripped apart,” Budz tweeted. “I don’t know how I’m gonna be able to function after this. Scarred forever.”

Hundreds of Fernandez’s classmates, friends and family members paid their respects during a wake held at Kearns Funeral Home in Rego Park on Monday, September 3. A line to honor the Woodside teen stretched around the block within minutes of opening visitation hours.

“It’s been said, but he was always smiling. He always had something funny to say,” said close family friend Daniel Santamaria. “He was never sad.”

Santamaria said Fernandez played bagpipes and danced as a member of Casa Galicia — a social club in Astoria for those who come from Galicia, an autonomous community in northwestern Spain.

Prep transfer student Irvin Navarrete, 17, said Fernandez was the first person he ever met in high school and remembered his first high school pal as “a good person” and “kind.”

As of press time, there were no new discoveries in the investigation, but Coleman said the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office in New Jersey would make any determination regarding charges.

A candlelight vigil at St. Francis Prep was held for the beloved teen the night after the horrific accident. Weeping students holding candles and wearing blue walked in silence to the corner of Francis Lewis Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway, where they placed lit candles in front of a statue of the school’s patron saint.

St. Francis Prep principal Brother Leonard Conway said school officials were preparing grief counseling sessions for traumatized students aboard the bus. A memorial service would also be held at the school when the family is ready, Conway said.

“He wasn’t like anybody else,” Navarrete said.

Sunnyside cyclist killed in hit-and-run


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A cyclist was killed last night in Sunnyside after being struck by a car that sped off after the crash.

The 37-year-old was biking heading eastbound on Greenpoint Avenue when he was hit from behind by a dark colored sedan heading the same direction, police said. The Daily News reported that sources said the speeding car ran a red light.

The vehicle did not stop and fled the sight.

EMS pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

An investigation is ongoing.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

New crane horror: Worker dies in W. Side collapse at subway pit

A construction worker was killed and three of his colleagues were injured last night when a crane collapsed at the No. 7 train subway-extension construction site on the West Side, authorities said. The accident occurred at around 7:20 p.m. at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue when two pieces of the crane — 80- and 40-foot sections — became dislodged and fell into the below-ground site and onto the workers, officials said. Read More: New York Post

French Academic Found Dead In His Midtown Hotel Room

Police were investigating late Tuesday the death of prominent French academic found inside a Midtown hotel room. Richard Descoings, 54, was discovered in his bed at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say hotel security went to his room after he did not check out. Sources say Descoings was found naked and his computer and phone were thrown from the seventh floor window. They also say police are looking for people who may have come into his room during the overnight hours. Read More: NY1

 

Off-Duty School Safety Agent Awaits Arraignment On Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent was awaiting arraignment Monday after being arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Sources say Johnson raped his ex-girlfriend in Brooklyn over the weekendJohnson currently lives in Ridgewood, Queens, where neighbors say he resides with his mother. Read More: NY1

 

Woman Dies Following Cooking Accident In Jackson Heights Home

A woman died Monday following an apparent cooking accident in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. The New York City Fire Department says they responded to a 911 call Monday morning for a woman in cardiac arrest. Fire officials believe the woman was severely burned when her sleeve caught on fire while cooking. They say she then went into the hallway, where she went into cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: NY1

 

Key approval is won for Willets Point project

The city has won a key approval for its massive Willets Point redevelopment, dealing a blow to local property owners who hoped to delay or even halt the project. The Federal Highway Administration ruled that ramps proposed for the Van Wyck Expressway would have “no significant impact” on the surrounding area, according to a letter sent to the state Department of Transportation late last month and released Monday by city officials. Read More: Crain’s New York Business

 

NYPD investigating image on Al Qaeda forums as possible threat to New York City

A graphic featuring the New York skyline and posted on terrorism websites blares a chilling message in bold letters: “Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York.” The NYPD and the FBI are scrambling to locate the source of the message and trying to figure out whether it’s a credible threat or a sick taunt. The 3-D images spotted on Al Qaeda Internet forums Monday show the letters scrawled across a city street, as a father and son stroll by in amazement. Read More: Daily News

 

Authorities still looking for motive in Oakland shooting rampage at small Christian college that left seven dead

One wounded woman cowered in the bushes after the gunman opened fire on the campus of a small Christian university. One student hid in a locked classroom as the shooter banged on the door. Another heard the shots and ran to safety. All within an hour Monday, police said, a 43-year-old former student named One L. Goh walked into Oikos University, and began a rampage that left seven people dead and three people wounded, trapped some in the building and forced others to flee for their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

 

‘Rape’ victim dad’s anguish

Don’t let your daughters move to New York City. That’s the heart-wrenching advice of the father of a city schoolteacher who is still devastated after being sexually assaulted at gunpoint by an off-duty cop last summer. “It’s a dangerous city,” said the dad, whose name and location are being withheld to protect the identity of his 25-year-old daughter. “When things like this happen, it just makes you think twice,” the dad told The Post from his small, out-of-state farm. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Handyman Convicted Of Murder Of Manhattan Building Cleaner

A handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct was convicted of second-degree murder Monday. After deliberating for two days, jurors also found Joseph Pabon, 27, guilty of first-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Pabon smothered 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez with industrial tape in July 2009. Read More: NY1

 

Boy, 10, shot in Williamsburg

A 10-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet in Williamsburg late last night, police said. The child was with his father below the elevated subway tracks on Broadway near the Hewes Street station at around 10:55 p.m., when teens down the block began arguing, cops and witnesses said. “Ten or 15 people [were] fighting. I called 911 when I heard the gunshots, two or three shots,” said Baruch Bing, 23, who lives near the shooting scene. Read More: New York Post

Koch endorses Queens House pol

Ed Koch’s legendary clout with Jewish voters is about to be tested again. Hoping to repeat his kingmaker role from a closely watched congressional race six months ago, the outspoken ex-mayor yesterday threw his support behind Assemblyman Rory Lancman in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination in Queens’ 6th Congressional District. He called Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley “first rate” but said he preferred Lancman’s position on Israel. Read More: New York Post

Prosecutors want ‘Millionaire Madam’ lawyers to zip it 

A Manhattan judge is weighing prosecutors’ demand to bar lawyers for accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina from publicly discussing some of the most sensational evidence in the case. Gristina, a 44-year-old soccer mom who is being held on $2 million bail, was not in court Monday as officials asked for a “protective order” to keep their evidence secret. Read More: Daily News

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jailed Queens man who says he didn’t commit murder wins retrial

A Queens man who spent eight of his 38 years in jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit won a retrial Wednesday. Tejpal Singh’s murder conviction was set aside by Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise after two key witnesses recanted their claim that he gunned down 19-year-old Kamaljit Singh in 1996. During five weeks of hearings Tejpal’s attorney, Stephen Murphy, grilled Ramjit “Rocky” Singh, who claimed at Tejpal’s trial that he was the drive-by shooter. Read More: New York Post

 

Former Yankees pitcher Pavano victim of extortion attempt, family says

Former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano was the victim of an extortion attempt in which a former classmate tried to get money and an SUV from the right-hander by threatening to reveal information about his personal life, Pavano’s family claims. Read More: New York Post

 

300-pound hero flight passenger said he had no choice when he took down crazy captain

David Gonzalez boarded a plane to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning and managed to do something that very, very few people have ever done. Gonzalez put the pilot in a choke hold while the aircraft was in midair. But Gonzalez, of Henryville, Pa., said he had no other choice. The pilot was acting so erratically that the plane’s crew asked for passengers’ help to subdue him, the Pocono Record reported Thursday. Gonzalez, a former New York City corrections officer, reflected on his experience aboard JetBlue Flight 191. He said he was happy no one got hurt and that he was trying to deal as best he could with being thrust overnight into the national media spotlight. Read More: New York Post

 

Off-duty cop driving wrong way killed in fiery crash in Bronx

An off-duty Mount Vernon cop, driving the wrong way on the New England Thruway, was killed in a fiery crash when he slammed head-on into a tractor-trailer in the Bronx early this morning, authorities said. Reginald Velez, 29, was driving south in the northbound center lane in his Lexus sedan near exit 11 when he plowed into the rig at about 2:35 a.m., officials said. The Lexus immediately burst into flames. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop accidentally shoots woman during Brooklyn drug raid, sources say

A police officer accidentally discharged his weapon during a drug raid in Brooklyn and struck a woman – leaving her in critical condition, police sources said. Brooklyn South Narcotics officers were searching a third floor apartment in a building on Clarendon Road near Nostrand Avenue when an officer’s gun accidentally went off and shot through the floor, striking a 25-year-old woman in the residence below. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-club owner turns down no-jail plea for Manhattan bar brawl with Prince of Monaco

Royal jaw-buster Adam Hock turned down a no-jail plea in a Manhattan courtroom today — insisting he’ll go to trial to prove he was the victim of “international bar brawlers” in his flashy February fight with the Prince of Monaco. “We have information that these four individuals are known bar brawlers,” Hock’s new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, insisted after a brief court appearance today, referring to Prince Pierre Casiraghi and the three royal pals Hock is charged with also decking. Read More: New York Post

 

Jamaica Dumping Ground Gets A Clean Sweep

The fence and graffiti are still there, but at least one problem is gone — the mounds of trash that filled this illegal dumping site along the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, Queens. On Wednesday, sanitation workers spent nearly six hours cleaning the well-known dumping ground after NY1 called them about the problem. “It was sick to look at, you know,” said resident Mo Ali. “It’s like our place, you know. It’s getting back to normal.” Read More: NY1

 

Two Hospitalized Following Van Wyck Service Road Accident

Several people were injured Wednesday in a three car pile-up on the Van Wyck service road in South Jamaica, Queens. The accident happened near Linden Boulevard around noon Wednesday. Firefighters used the “jaws of life” to remove one of the passengers, as the rear of the car hung on a bent street sign. One witness said the driver was unresponsive with his foot still on the pedal, spinning the car’s wheels. Read More: NY1

Hit-and-run accident kills pedestrian


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A pedestrian was struck and killed in Flushing in a hit-and-run accident, according to police.

A 65-year-old man was crossing 45th Avenue at the intersection of 149th Street at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 when an SUV traveling southbound fatally hit him, police said.

The vehicle fled the scene, according to authorities.

The victim was taken to New York Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

 

Pedestrian struck and killed on Union Turnpike


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A pedestrian crossing Union Turnpike was struck and killed just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 29, according to authorities.

The victim was struck as he attempted to cross Union Turnpike in Oakland Gardens by a Volkswagen driven by a 24-year-old woman, police said.

EMS responded to the scene and took the 40-year-old victim to North Shore Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to crashstat.org, there have been 15 pedestrian injuries at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Springfield Boulevard since 1995, but no fatalities.

There is no criminality suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

Pol: Change traffic response policy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Local politicians rallied to rule reckless riders off the road, saying bad drivers belong behind bars, not the wheel.

According to NYPD policy, an Accident Investigation Squad (AIS) is only deployed to crash scenes in which a victim has been declared dead or “likely to die” by a medical professional. For all other cases, patrol officers will fill out an accident report, but cannot launch an in-depth examination.

“What that means in real terms is that someone could speed through an intersection, cripple a person, and most likely that driver will not face criminal charges,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone, who held a joint hearing with Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca — examining the NYPD’s traffic accident response, investigations and enforcement of traffic rules.

Additionally, according to the NYPD, policy states only members of AIS can issue violations and make arrests when no police officer witnessed the accident.

“Far too many people have been injured, or narrowly avoided injury, and have seen the reckless driver responsible get away with it because the police have refused to investigate,” said Vallone, who is also chair of the Public Safety Committee. “People have been severely hit, and the drivers who injured them were not punished in any way other than perhaps getting a traffic ticket.”

According to data from the hearing, more New Yorkers died at the hands of reckless or speeding drivers than gunfire from 2000 to 2009, although NYPD Deputy Chief John Cassidy of the Transportation Bureau said there was an all-time record low of traffic fatalities last year.

Cassidy said there were 241 deaths in 2011 — a 39 percent decrease from 2001.

Still, Vallone said the “insufficient laws” are coupled with a drastically decreasing uniform headcount throughout the department. He said within the Transportation Bureau, there were only 211 highway officers in 2011 — down from 376 in 2001.

“We need to stop allowing our police department to be decimated. That is obviously going to have an impact when it comes to enforcement,” said Vallone. “We hope that this hearing will yield information that will keep our streets safer for all — [especially if you] have been injured at the hands of a reckless driver who got away with it due to our current laws.”

Pending legislation supported by Vallone and Vacca calls on the state to give police officers authority to issue summonses even if the officer was not present at the time of the accident, as long as the officer has reasonable cause to believe the violation was committed by the driver.

“It does not seem to be a priority for the NYPD to weed out these dangerous motorists who are harming innocent pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Vallone. “We’re upset. Reckless drivers have been put back on the road and can injure more people.”

Fatal Accident on the Belt Parkway


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

On Saturday, December, 17 2011 at 0420 hours, police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident in the vicinity of the Belt Parkway and 116th Street, located within the confines of the 106 Precinct.  Upon arrival, responding officers determined that a 2009 Toyota Corolla, operated by a M/B/26 along with 4 additional passengers, was traveling eastbound on South Conduit Avenue when it left the roadway and rolled over onto the eastbound Belt Parkway causing a F/B/21 to be ejected from the rear of the vehicle.

EMS also responded to the location and transported the F/B/21 passenger to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced DOA.

EMS also transported the operator (M/B/26) and the front passenger (M/B/24) to Jamaica Hospital where they are listed in stable condition.  The remaining passengers (F/B/25 & F/B/24) were transported to Brookdale Hospital where they are listed in stable condition.

There has been no arrest(s) in regard to this incident and the investigation is ongoing.