Tag Archives: Death

Forklift falls, kills mechanic in College Point warehouse


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A mechanic working inside a College Point warehouse Thursday morning was crushed and killed by a forklift, a police source said.

The machine used for lifting heavy loads fell on top of the man, whose identity was not yet released, shortly before 11 a.m. on October 3, according to an NYPD spokesperson.

The man suffered severe body trauma, authorities said, and was pronounced dead on scene at 28-00 College Point Boulevard.

Nearby construction workers said about 20 warehouse employees are constantly seen moving forklifts in and out of the facility daily.

“Accidents happen a lot when you’re dealing with heavy machinery,” said James Garabedian, a nearby iron worker. “But people getting pinned by a forklift – that usually doesn’t happen.”

It was unclear which company ran the warehouse. A man who identified himself to police as being in charge of the warehouse declined to comment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was on site investigating the incident.

Check back with The Queens Courier for updates on this developing story.

 

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Daughter of Elmhurst man killed in subway shove sues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The daughter of the Elmhurst man killed when he was pushed onto the subway tracks of a Midtown station in December is suing the MTA, according to reports.

Ki Suck Han’s 20-year-old daughter, Ashley, filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday.

Han, 58, was struck by a Brooklyn bound “R” train on December 3 at around 12:30 p.m. at the West 49th Street and 7th Avenue station after suspect Naeem Davis, 30, allegedly shoved him after an altercation.

Davis was charged with intentional murder in the second degree and depraved indifference murder in the second degree, the NYPD said.

In video footage taken on the subway platform right before the shoving incident, Davis was seen cursing and yelling at Han. He also reportedly made statements implicating himself while in custody.

The Han family is seeking reimbursement for monetary damages and funeral expenses.

Flu has reached epidemic proportions


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's flickr

The early and rapid spread of this year’s flu season has had deadly consequences.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has reached epidemic status, causing 7.3 percent of deaths last week. The CDC’s epidemic threshold is marked at 7.2 percent.

Every region of the United States — excluding the Southwest and California — registered a spike in the number of cases of the flu over the past week.

Boston, the city hit hardest by the disease, has seen 700 confirmed cases of flu and four flu-related deaths so far this season. Last year, Boston had only 70 confirmed cases.

The CDC said that flu-associated deaths each season range from 3,000 people to about 49,000 people. Those at increased risk for serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Symptoms of the respiratory viral infection include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC cautions those hoping to obtain the flu vaccine that the coveted shot may be difficult to find. Pharmacies have reported an increase in the number of people looking to get vaccinated, and contacting more than one provider may be a necessary part of the search.

A pharmacy staff member at the CVS on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria said they ran out of the flu shot several days ago and had just been restocked today.

“We have them in stock now but now a lot people are coming in to get them,” said the pharmacy staff member, who estimated they would be out of the vaccine again by the end of the day.

Cops release sketch of suspect in subway push death


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DCPI

A man was killed after being pushed in front of an approaching No. 7 train in Sunnyside last night, the second incident of its kind in New York City this month.

Sunando Sen was pushed as the Flushing-bound train approached the 40th Street station at approximately 8 p.m.

As the train pulled into the station, the suspect rose from a nearby bench and shoved the man, who did not notice her, witnesses said.

The suspect fled out of the station after pushing the victim and was caught on surveillance near the train. There are no security cameras in the station, a situation Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said he will push to change.

“It does strike me that in a post-9/11 world that there are no cameras at any stop,” Van Bramer said.

She is described as Hispanic, 5-feet-5-inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue, gray and white jacket and Nike sneakers. Police are offering a $12,000 reward for capture.

The suspect reportedly was seen mumbling and pacing on the platform before shoving the man.

Ki-Suk Han, 58, of Elmhurst, was killed on December 3 when he was pushed in front of a Q train at the 49th Street-Seventh Avenue station.  Suspect Naeem Davis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

– Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

Friends, brother remember Flushing man killed during Hurricane Sandy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Flushing man was crushed to death by a tree that crashed into his home Monday night during Hurricane Sandy, police said.

Tony Laino, 29, was pinned in his bedroom at around 7 p.m. on October 29, police said.

The tree ripped through the upper left portion of the two-story home at 47-34 166th Street, according to neighbors.

“The mother came outside screaming,” said Howard Senior, who lives across the street. “There were trucks, lights, all sorts of emergency vehicles. It was a mob scene. Somebody went upstairs, but there was no noise from the room. They didn’t hear a thing. It just crushed him.”

Another neighbor, who did not want to give her name, said the victim’s mother ran down the street and rang her doorbell that night asking for help.

“He was just pinned underneath the tree. There was nothing that could be done,” she said. “The poor mother was helpless. It took a very long time to even try and get in there — that’s how big the tree was.”

The collapse rendered the rest of the house unstable, the neighbor said, adding that emergency responders pulled out “very quickly.”

“The winds were blowing. It was just terrifying,” she said. “It’s just a tragedy.”

Laino lived with his parents and one of two brothers, neighbors and friends said. There were no other reported injuries in the home.

A man who identified himself only as Laino’s brother wept outside the scene on Tuesday morning.

“He was an amazing person,” he said. “He always wanted to help people. He was a great man.”

Neighbors and an overwhelming outpouring of Facebook friends remembered Laino — the youngest of three brothers and a driver for Ace Party & Tent Rental — as an idol to kids on the block and a funny, cheerful person.

“Although my heart is heavy, I’ll never forget how you made me smile,” friend Deirdre Mooney posted on his Facebook wall Tuesday morning. “I hope you’re one of [the] first faces I see on the other side.”

Danielle Esposito wrote about how Laino “always made me feel happy and beautiful and endlessly made me laugh with his antics.”

“Honestly have no idea how we are going to do this,” she said.

Friend Adam Lombardi told the Courier Laino was a “go-getter, always looking to improve himself.”

“I think I speak for the entire neighborhood when I say it’s a tragic loss and he’s going to be missed,” he said.

Family and neighbors said the tragedy could have been averted. The Lainos tried time and time again to get the city to remove the towering threat, they said.

“I’ve been telling them to take this tree down for 20 f—–g years,” Laino’s brother said.

The Parks Department directed comment to the city’s joint information center, which did not immediately respond.

Senior said the tree was “too big, too dangerous” as he watched it sway during the storm.

“It’s a solid tree, but it started to rock,” he said. “I said ‘Son of a gun, that’s going to come down.’”

College Point woman allegedly died of West Nile


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Maria Coppola 2w

The family of a 71-year-old College Point woman who allegedly died of West Nile virus said they sway between incredible sadness and extreme anger at the city.

“This could have been prevented. They should have sprayed. They shouldn’t wait for a fatality to happen,” said Francis Coppola, 50.

He said his mother, Maria Coppola, was bitten by mosquitoes three times — on the eye, ear and arm — last year on August 10, while sitting outside on her porch. While he said the family was unsure where exactly she contracted the virus, he said she did not travel and was bedridden even before she was allegedly diagnosed with the disease soon after in September. She died on March 31 of this year.

Family members pointed to nearby areas of stagnant water as close as 200 yards away — and flu-like symptoms Maria suffered, indicative of the virus — as obvious signs of West Nile, but the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said they are looking into the death before deeming Coppola another West Nile victim.

“The Health Department is investigating a report that a Queens woman died from complications of West Nile virus,” the agency said in a statement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the United States saw 44 total cases of West Nile virus — which resulted in two deaths — last year. Statistics on the health department’s website show 181 mosquito pools were found in New York City in 2011, including 89 in Queens, and of the nine severe cases of West Nile reported then, four were from Queens.

The disease first emerged in the country in 1999, and nearly all cases were detected within a 75-mile radius of New York City, the CDC said. Since then, the agency said more than 30,000 people have been affected and more than 1,200 have died.

City health officials said the department sprayed the College Point area three times last year. They also said all catch basins in the neighborhood were treated three times as well.

Still, the family said there were actually no sprays conducted, and efforts were not enough to deter mosquitoes from breeding near three stagnant water sources nearby. Francis said the family’s home is located near two sewer pools, high rising weeds on the nearby waterfront and a broken pothole that fills with rain water on 23rd Avenue and 119th Street.

Their complaints have fallen on deaf ears, he said.

“It’s clearly known that this area is ground zero,” Francis said. “The mayor knows we have this going on here. Do something about it. I don’t want to start pandemonium, but apparently we have already.”

Maria helped operate a family-run pizzeria in College Point with her husband of 55 years, Frank, the family said. Francis said his mother came to America with only $2 in her pocket and died a successful woman with five children.

“It’s very tough,” husband Frank, 79, said through tears. “She was my right arm. She was everything to me. She was cut short of her life.”

Gone too soon: Joshua Basin’s mother remembers her son’s tragic death


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

His friends called him “the kid with the golden heart.”

Zena Basin called him son.

A week after her son Joshua’s senseless death, Zena still expects him to walk through the door of their Howard Beach home.

The 20 year old was killed during an altercation on a Manhattan-bound “L” train. The assailant, now identified as Ryan Beauchamp, instigated a fight with Basin and two other males, which escalated at the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn and concluded with Basin’s death when he tumbled onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train.

Beauchamp was arrested for two counts of attempted assault in the third degree, disorderly conduct and harassment in the second degree on Wednesday, March 28.

Zena’s happy son, filled with a thirst for life, was the light of her existence, she said. Her only child, Joshua was born premature, and doctors warned Zena that his chances of survival were slim.

Against medical predictions, the baby survived.

“He was so radiant,” said Zena of her son as an infant. “He was so alive.”

His mother said Joshua possessed a breadth of interests. He wrote stories, song lyrics and poetry. A passion for travel led Joshua around the world – as a toddler, he took his first steps in Greece and later ventured to China at age five.

A student at LaGuardia Community College, Joshua aspired to become a psychologist. He enjoyed speaking with people and listening to their problems.

Above all, Zena said, Joshua was a steadfast friend.

“He was loved by all of his friends,” said Zena. “He would go out of his way for them. He was a good kid. He was my friend.”

Zena feels thankful for the support she received from the Howard Beach community. Joshua’s buddies remain in touch, filling the role of her “rock.”

“His friends don’t know how to cope,” she said. “I feel like I’ve become a mother to all of them.”

Surrounded with support, Zena says there is still a gaping hole in the middle of her heart.

“He was the love of my life,” said Zena. “We miss him so much.”

Sustaining his memory, she says, is what will help her survive.

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

DA: Mother Will Not Be Charged In Son’s Bathtub Drowning

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office on Monday announced it has declined to prosecute the mother of an eleven-month old boy who apparently drowned in the bathtub. A spokesman with the Brooklyn district attorney’s office says while the death of Elijah Pardella was tragic and accidental, it doesn’t rise to a level of criminality. Investigators say officers were called to an apartment located at 148 Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York just after 3 p.m. Sunday and found the 11-month-old unresponsive. Sources say his mother, Angelica Huertas, 24, was giving him and another child a bath. Read More: NY1

 

 Yankees GM calls AL East ‘a toss-up’

A year after naming the Red Sox as the team to beat in the AL East, Yankees GM Brian Cashman called the division a “tossup” this season and added the Rangers should be the team to beat in the American League. “Texas is clearly the favorite in the league,” Cashman said Tuesday before the Yankees played the Mets at Digital Domain Park. “They’ve won it two straight years. But Anaheim and Detroit have made significant improvements. Read More: New York Post

Manhattan Councilman Sets Sights On 2013 Comptroller’s Race

City Councilman Dan Garodnick told supporters Monday he’s running for City Comptroller and plans to take on incumbent John Liu if necessary. In an email to supporters, Garodnick said New Yorkers have to be focused on finding ways to make city government as productive as possible without distractions. In a video message posted online Garodnick said, “We have some very difficult budgetary challenges coming down the pike. New Yorkers need an independent voice that they can trust in the comptroller’s office.” Read More: NY1

 

MTA chief says Bloomberg’s dream of extending No. 7 train to NJ is ‘not going to happen’

The No. 7 train isn’t going to New Jersey anytime soon. Mayor Bloomberg’s dream project of extending the line across the Hudson River isn’t happening anytime soon — if it ever does at all, the head of the MTA said today. The subway extension to New Jersey likely is “not going to happen in our lifetime,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said at a New York Building Congress forum. He added, “It’s not going to happen in anybody’s lifetime.” Bloomberg has long supported a proposal to bring the 7 train to Seacaucus, NJ, a colossal effort that would cost billions to accomplish. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Chase Banking Glitch Causes Double Charges On Accounts

If you’re seeing double charges on your Chase bank account today, the bank says it’s aware of the problem. A Chase representative says some debit transactions in our area are posting twice. The rep says it’s unclear how many people have been affected. A customer service recording is alerting account holders to the problem and says accounts will be updated today. Read More: NY1

 

One dead, two injured in Brooklyn construction collapse

A construction worker was killed today when a home under construction collapsed in Brooklyn, authorities said. Rescuers were called at 11 a.m. to 38 Frank Court in Gerritsen Beach after the building’s second story, roof and walls fell in. A 25-year-old man, who was not identified by police, was pulled from the wreckage and rushed to Lutheran Hospital. He died a short time later from his injuries, police said. Two other workers were treated at the scene for minor injuries, police said. The cause of the collapse remains under investigation. Read More: New York Post

Four more US soldiers face court martial over alleged hazing death of New York GI


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Four more US soldiers face court martial over alleged hazing death of New York GI

Four more US soldiers are facing a possible court martial over the alleged hazing death in Afghanistan of a 19-year-old fellow serviceman of Chinese descent. The recommendation from military investigators follows a preliminary hearing at Kandahar Air Field on Monday. Seven of the eight servicemen — originally charged on multiple counts, including involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide linked to Pvt. Danny Chen’s death — could now end up in the military court. Investigators are still examining the case of the eighth soldier. Read More: New York Post

Liu-nacy! Embattled comp advises pols on money

Beleaguered city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasurer is facing fraud charges and his entire political fund-raising operation is ensnared in a federal probe — but, without a hint of irony, the Queens pol advised City Hall yesterday on how to manage its finances. For 45 minutes, Liu testified and answered City Council questions about Mayor Bloomberg’s 2013 budget proposal, agreeing with the proposed sale of 2,000 taxi medallions to raise $1 billion. Like Bloomberg, he also opposed holding off on pension contributions to temporarily fill budget gaps, calling it “kicking the can down the road.” Read More: New York Post

Person Of Interest Sought In Death Of Chelsea Man

Police are looking to question a person of interest in connection with the death of a man in Chelsea over the weekend. Authorities released pictures, above, of the man they’re looking for in connection with the death of 57-year-old John Laubach. At this point police are not calling the man a suspect. Laubach was found dead in his apartment Friday night. Sources say his hands, feet, and mouth were bound with duct tape, and there was a towel over his face. The apartment had also been ransacked. Read More: NY1

 

In Reversal, Albany Now Supports Women’s Choice Of Birth Control

Albany is ordering health insurers not to deny women their choice of contraceptives – or face the loss of state contracts. The state issued the warning after some women on Medicaid were told to use a cheaper, generic brand instead of their regular method. It was part of a state cost-cutting measure put in place back in October. According to the rule, if the generic version failed then patients could go back to their preferred form of birth control. Read More: NY1

 

High-end madam busted for running upper East Side brothel is a suburban mom with four children

A high-end madam who boasted she used cops as security and made millions by peddling flesh — including underage girls — to rich and powerful clients has been busted after a five-year probe, prosecutors said. The Manhattan district attorney’s office indicted petite, blond, green-eyed Anna Gristina, 44, in a corruption investigation that amassed 50 to 100 hours of audio and video recordings, some showing prostitutes doing the deed, according to court records. Read More: Daily News

Grandmother, four young children killed in house fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Grandmother, four young children killed in house fire

Four children aged between two and 12 were killed along with their grandmother Thursday morning in a fiery blaze at a New Jersey home, according to reports out today. The fire broke out at a large house on Clinton Avenue in South Plainfield just before 3.30 a.m. Relatives told 1010 WINS that seven children, their mother and their grandmother were in the house at the time of the fire. The mother, two of her sons, aged eight and 15, and her baby daughter managed to escape the blaze. The teen boy reportedly managed to grab his baby sister and save her from the fire. Read More: New York Post

‘Seinfeld’ actor Daniel von Bargen critical after shooting himself in apparent suicide attempt

“Seinfeld” actor Daniel von Bargen was in critical condition Wednesday after shooting himself in the head in an apparent failed suicide attempt. Paramedics went to the 61-year-old actor’s Cincinnati, Ohio, apartment Monday after he called 911, saying, “I’ve shot myself in the head … and I need help,” TMZ.com reports. “I was supposed to go to the hospital and I didn’t want to,” he is heard saying on the 911 tape, explaining he is diabetic. “They were supposed to amputate at least a few toes.” Read More: Daily News

 

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be barred from Oscars ceremony, but ‘The Dictator’ costume is

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be banned from the Oscars after all. The comic actor, who is in trouble with the Academy over rumors that he may show up on the red carpet as the title character from his upcoming movie “The Dictator,” may be allowed to attend the star-studded awards ceremony if he promises to show up only as himself, an Academy spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. Read More: Daily News

Two US troops killed by Afghan soldier amid Koran protests

Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s appeal for calm failed to quell nationwide protests over the burning of copies of the Koran earlier this week at a US military base, as anti-American demonstrations spread to new cities Thursday and for the first time led to American casualties. Hours after the Taliban issued a public appeal Thursday for Afghans to attack foreign-military bases in retaliation over the Koran burning, an Afghan soldier opened fire at a US base in eastern Afghanistan, killing two coalition soldiers, according to Afghan and US officials. Read More: New York Post
Knives and headless doll found in locker owned by Madonna’s LA stalker

Knives, a headless doll and videos of young kids were among the creepy possessions found in a California storage locker that once belonged to Madonna’s stalker Robert Dewey Hoskins, KCAL-TV reported. Hoskins, 54, who was convicted of stalking the pop star in 1996 and recently tried to escape the psychiatric hospital he is currently being held in, kept his possessions in a storage facility in Long Beach until he missed his rent payments and his belongings were sold. Read More: New York Post
Cops nab gang member who fired gun into crowd, wounded teen

Plainclothes cops collared a teenaged gang member who wounded a 14-year-old boy after firing shots into a crowd of people in Queens early this morning, authorities said today. Christopher Chinloy, 17, was spotted by the cops firing a gun in front of a Rockaway Beach grocery store just after midnight, police said. The veteran cops, Sergeant Craig Bier and Officer Donnell Myers, were on their way back to their command in the Queens gang unit when they heard the gun fire on Beach Channel Drive, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown

Rabid Big Blue fans will flood the Canyon of Heroes today to watch Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champion Giants march up Broadway — and a lucky 500 will get to attend an exclusive City Hall ceremony afterward. Officials doled out 250 pairs of tickets after holding an online lottery for New York residents. More than 50,000 people had entered. The winners were notified at 2 p.m. and had six hours to rush to Midtown to claim their prize. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Man In Custody Following Wife’s Death

A Queens man whose wife was found dead last week is now in police custody. Sources tell NY1 Jordan Hawes, 32, was picked up by police in Connecticut for driving a stolen car. Sources say he is being held in a psychiatric ward in a Connecticut hospital and has not yet been charged with any crime. His wife, Tara Hawes, 33, was found dead in the couple’s Astoria apartment Thursday night. Investigators say she died of blunt force trauma to the head. Read More: NY1

 

 Former EMS Chief Passes Away After Battling Brain Tumor

The city Fire Department is mourning a longtime Emergency Medical Services chief. John McFarland passed away Monday from complications related to a brain tumor. McFarland began as an EMT in 1983 and served in many positions, including chief of the academy and Queens Borough commander. The father of five is remembered as an advocate for patients who embraced technological advances in the field. Read More: NY1

 

Cemetery workers plunge into open grave

They wound up 6 feet under — and lived to tell about it. Four workers at a Queens cemetery plunged yesterday into a deep grave — on top of a freshly laid casket — leaving one of them injured. Raimundo Rodriguez, 49, had been working in a crew of four on the Harper family plot at the Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village when the freak accident occurred, workers said. The men had been removing the apparatus used to lower caskets into the ground at around 12:50 p.m. when suddenly, all of them “vanished.” Read More: New York Post

 

Dopey rob victim busted

Always tidy up before calling the cops — it’s a lesson that Michael Cokley learned the hard way. Late last year, he called 911 to report a gunpoint home-invasion robbery. As he described the ordeal to them at his Far Rockaway, Queens, apartment, cops smelled the distinctive aroma of marijuana and saw heroin out in the open, police say. After getting a search warrant, the cops allegedly discovered 34 grams of heroin, 91 glassine envelopes, four marijuana grinders and an electronic scale. Read More: New York Post

Bettor days for Aqueduct

Horse betting is up at Aqueduct following the opening of the new racino next door. The total handle on races is up 6.6 last month, compared with January 2011, according to figures compiled by the New York Racing Association. That includes bets made off premises. Wagering increased to $117,842,942 last month from $110,556,714 the prior period — or an increase of more than $7 million. Most of that increase was from off-track betting. The total on-track handle was up 1 percent — to $23,428,941 last month compared to $23,190,785 in the prior period. “We’re pleased with the increase in handle on and off the track,” said NYRA spokesman Dan Silver. Read More: New York Post

Scam fam sent off to prison


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Scam fam sent off to prison

A seething Queens judge walloped three members of a crooked Richmond Hill family yesterday, sending them upstate to serve a combined 418 years for a brazen immigration and real-estate scam. The mom, dad and daughter — dubbed “The Ramsundar Gang” by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder — paid a shocking price for defrauding 19 families of $1.8 million over six years. Holder said his harsh sentences are nothing compared to the street justice the Ramsundar family would have faced back in their native Trinidad. Read More: New York Post

Body of man found in garbage pile fire outside Furniture Zone store

A man’s charred body was discovered in a burning pile of garbage in Brooklyn Thursday morning, police said. Firefighters who were called to a blaze on Hendrickson Street in Marine Park shortly before 4 a.m. made the grisly discovery. The body, believed to be that of a white male, was lying on top of several boxes and had been burned beyond recognition, sources said. The fire erupted at the side of a Furniture Zone store in an area frequented by vagrants, according to a taxi stand manager who works in the area. Read More: Daily News

Queens Residents Brace For 7 Train Disruptions

It’s going to be a long winter for the several thousand western Queens residents who rely on the 7 train to get around town on the weekends come January 23. That’s when an 11-week service shutdown begins, which means no trains on Saturdays and Sundays until the spring. “This is not a neighborhood that has five different places where you can use instead. We’re very isolated there,” said Queens resident Moitri Savard. The MTA says the work is essential to make critical infrastructure improvements and upgrade tracks and switches. It also needs to clean the tracks of muck it says have accumulated over the years. Read More: NY1

Elevators in building where Manhattan ad exec died had numerous problems

Elevator problems were an epidemic at the building where a Manhattan ad executive died in a horrific accident last month, newly revealed Buildings Department records show. City inspectors wrote 11 violations against 13 elevators at 285 Madison Avenue in the immediate aftermath of the December 14 tragedy that killed Suzanne Hart, 41, the public records show. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the malfunction that killed the Brooklyn resident. The elevator that killed Hart so far has only been cited for a paperwork problem — it was among several elevators in the building that lacked a “certificate of compliance” with Buildings rules, the records show. Read More: New York Post

Pedestrian hit on FDR

A taxi passenger was struck by a minivan on the FDR last night after he impatiently hopped out of the cab in heavy traffic and darted across the roadway, police sources said. The unidentified victim was headed northbound near East 105th Street at around 11:30 p.m. when his cab hit congestion, the sources said. He left the vehicle and was struck in a southbound lane by a Toyota minivan. The victim was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital in unknown condition. Read More: New York Post

New arrests at Zuccotti

A gang of Occupy Wall Street protesters skulked back to the park yesterday, racking up three arrests. The 2:20 a.m. arrests came about seven hours after cops took down barricades that were erected when the group was evicted from the park on November 15. All three were charged with trespassing, and two were also hit with resisting arrest. Read More: New York Post

St. John’s loses to Marquette

For all the freshman mistakes and youthful inconsistency, St. John’s has played hard this season, rarely had its effort called into question. But last night it wasn’t so much questioned as flat-out criticized, the Red Storm folding in the second half of an 83-64 beating at the hands of No. 24 Marquette. The bowed heads and slumped shoulders and palpable frustration told the tale. The Red Storm (8-8, 2-3 Big East) have lost all six of their games against ranked teams, and with a chance at a breakthrough, what it got was a breakdown. It let Marquette shoot 67.7 percent to turn a second-half lead into a blowout loss. Read More: New York Post

Four Attacks in Queens With Homemade Firebombs


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Four Attacks in Queens With Homemade Firebombs

A Fire Department official on Monday said it was fortunate that the damage was minimal from a series of arson attacks across eastern Queens on Sunday night that the police were investigating as a possible bias crime against Muslims. No one was hurt in the four attacks, in which homemade firebombs were apparently used. In three of the four attacks, the police said, Molotov cocktails were made with Starbucks bottles. The first attack occurred just before 8 p.m. at a bodega at 179-46 Hillside Avenue. Ten minutes later, another crude firebomb was thrown, this time at the home at 107th Avenue, and the house caught fire. Read More: New York Times

Authorities Release Sketch, Video Of Suspect In Queens Firebomb Attacks

Authorities say the suspect, seen above in surveillance video and a police sketch, is between 25 to 30 years old, about 5-feet-8-inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He was seen driving a light-colored, four-door sedan. Police say the first cocktail was thrown at a bodega on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica around 8 p.m. Sunday and it damaged the store’s counter. Fewer than 10 minutes later, a second call came in about a homemade firebomb being thrown at a house on 107th Avenue. Read More: NY1

MTA Conductor Charged With Assaulting Passenger

An Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor is charged with assault after police say he punched a passenger on an R train in Queens. Police say Thomas Christopher, 35, hit the passenger, identified by sources as 18-year-old Zaid al-Doori, after arguing with him near the 36th Street station Sunday morning. Published reports say Christopher was upset because al-Doori had put his feet up on the seats. Read More: NY1

Driver In Custody Following Deadly LIE Crash

One person was killed this morning following a fiery accident on a Queens highway, which was possibly fueled by New Year’s Eve drinking. Officials say the accident happened just after 5 a.m. on the Long Island Expressway. Police sources say a car was rear-ended near the Maurice Avenue exit, causing it to flip over and catch on fire. The driver of that car was pronounced dead at the scene. Sources say the driver of the second vehicle was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in police custody. Read More: NY1

37 feet from disaster at JFK

An airline crew’s failure to follow controllers’ instructions caused the scariest runway incident last year at Kennedy Airport, authorities said yesterday. On June 30, the pilots of a Cairo-bound EgyptAir Boeing 777 mistakenly taxied just 37 feet shy of a runway where they would have been in the path of a Lufthansa jet speeding toward takeoff, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Controllers had told them to make a left turn to another taxiway, the FAA said. With seconds to spare, the Lufthansa crew brought the Airbus A340 to a screeching halt, partly by jamming on its brakes so hard that they overheated. Read More: New York Post

Teacher out on her butt

A foulmouthed teacher got her butt fired after she told a group of ninth-graders “they had their brains in their ass,” then tried to bribe a student to save her hide, officials said. The city Department of Education accused Bernadette Camacho, 39, of verbally abusing social-studies students at Hillcrest HS in Queens, according to investigation documents The Post obtained through a Freedom of Information request. But during the hearings that would decide her fate, the teacher tried to coerce a flunking female student to sing her praises in court in exchange for a passing grade, officials said. Read More: New York Post

Stun-of-a-gun gal arrested at JFK

A Chinese national was busted trying to sneak a stun gun through a security checkpoint at Kennedy Airport, the Transportation Security Administration said yesterday. Sihui Xie, 21, was trying to board a flight to Orlando Friday when a TSA screener spotted the pen-sized stun gun tucked in her carry-on bag. At first the item appeared to be a flashlight, but a closer look revealed it to be a stun gun/flashlight hybrid. Port Authority cops arrested the woman and charged her with possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. Read More: New York Post

Actress-threat gal is slapped

A Queens woman was indicted yesterday for allegedly sending threatening e-mails to Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard. Teresa Yuan was charged by a Brooklyn federal grand jury with five counts of transmitting threats to the film star, who won an Academy Award for best actress in 2008 for her role as Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose.” Brooklyn federal prosecutors said Yuan e-mailed a video to the actress’ Internet fan site asking: “Would you be willing to play Russian Roulette? You have only one out of six chances of being shot. You have five out of six chances of living.” Yuan was arrested this past summer by the FBI and arraigned in August. She remains free on bail while awaiting trial, officials said. Read More: New York Post

Man who ‘killed’ wife took control of life-insurance payout for kids


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man who ‘killed’ wife took control of life-insurance payout for kids

The man being sued for allegedly murdering his Upper West Side wife surreptitiously took control of the $1.6 million life-insurance-policy payout she’d left behind for their two kids, The Post has learned. Rod Covlin, 39, filed papers in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court in April seeking to be named guardian of the cashed-in Aetna policy that Shele Danishefsky Covlin, a money manager, had left for Anna and Myles. “I am Anna’s father,” an affidavit reads. “I have her best interests at heart, and I am in the best position to determine her current and future needs.” Read More: New York Post

Man posed as a cop during sexual assault

The New York Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the individuals wanted in connection with a sexual assault and robbery. On Sunday, November 20 at approximately 10:30 p.m., one female victim was posting flyers when she was approached on the street by a burgundy-colored van or SUV with four individuals inside. One suspect — described as a Hispanic male — displayed a business card with a police logo, then told the victim it was illegal to post flyers and asked for her identification, according to police. Read More: Queens Courier

End of an era: Flushing’s Palace Diner closing

The faithful frequenters of Flushing’s Palace Diner will have to find a new haunt once the local landmark serves its last meal after more than three decades in the neighborhood. The diner, which sits along the Long Island Expressway on the corner of Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway and has been a neighborhood mainstay for 35 years, will close its doors for good on Friday, December 30. “Friday is going to be another very emotional day,” said owner George Mantzikos. Read More: Queens Courier

Office Cleaners Rally In Midtown As Strike Threat Remains

Contract negotiations will continue Thursday to try to prevent a strike of more than 20,000 office cleaners in the city, but rallying service employees in Midtown and their supporters pledged on Wednesday to strike if an agreement is not reached by the time the old contract expires. The Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, which represents building management, and Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ failed to resolve their differences over wages and benefits in the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday. Read More: NY1

New State Law To Ban Minors From Local Hookah Bars

Steinway Street between 25th and 28th Avenue in Astoria is Queens’ so-called “Hookah Strip,” where people go to smoke “shisha,” or flavored tobacco, through a water pipe known as hookah. The industry is not well-regulated and the businesses are exempt from the state’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, so the owners often create their own rules when it comes to minors. Many places do not allow them inside, but some do. That is about to change under a new state law banning minors from these mostly Middle Eastern establishments that have become popular with other Americans. Read More: NY1

Western Queens parents group: we’ve got two overcrowded schools that need additions built  

A western Queens parents group plans to push the city to build additions at two overcrowded elementary schools where the the lack of space is so severe that students are studying in hallways or in a leaky modular unit. Community Education Council District 30 will present its concerns about Public School 11, in Woodside, and PS 2, in Jackson Heights, to the city on January 6 in its annual recommendations to the School Construction Authority. Read More: Daily News

Astoria realtor to shave off his signature mustache to raise money for autism support group

A respected Queens community leader is attempting to turn the mustache he’s sported for the last 35 years into some cold hard cash for an autism organization. Astoria realtor Paul Halvatzis, 52, of Flushing, is to have his beloved whiskers shaved off on Friday at the Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria in an attempt to raise $35,000 for Quality Services for the Autism Community. The group provides support services to autistic individuals and their families in New York City and Long Island. Read More: Daily News

Counterfeit Cash Smuggler at JFK

A Colombian woman was busted at JFK with nearly $300,000 of counterfeit U.S. currency in her luggage, federal officials said yesterday. Karol Andrea Chilito Solarte, 29, who flew here from Medellin, was arrested on December 15 after Customs and Border Protection officers spotted an unusual thickness at the bottom of her suitcase, a spokesman for the agency said. The oddly shaped suitcase sparked the suspicions of Customs officers — and a closer examination uncovered 46 packages of phony $100 bills totaling almost $300,000, the spokesman said. Read More: New York Post

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Weiner mistress claims he wanted to have a threesome with a man

Anthony Weiner wanted to do more than share his crotch shots with women online, his former X-rated chat buddy claims. Traci Nobles, who came forward as one of the New York politician’s sexting partners earlier this year, told Radaronline.com that he wanted to have a threesome — with her and another man. She claimed that he detailed his desires in an explicit chat earlier this year. “I’m not really talking about other chicks … How about with another guy,” he allegedly said, according to the blonde bombshell. “Are you turned on by other guys?” Nobles claims she asked. “Well it depends on the guy, but generally yes,” Weiner allegedly replied. Read More: Daily News

Family still waiting to bury Brooklyn woman burned to death in brutal elevator attack

The body of the Prospect Heights woman burned to death in her apartment building elevator is still awaiting final burial. The family of Deloris Gillespie said that because she was so badly burned in the shocking December 17 attack authorities have not yet officially identified her — leaving her family unable to get a death certificate or proceed with a funeral. Read More: New York Post

Death on tracks

A man was fatally struck last night by a subway train in Washington Heights — and cops are investigating whether he went onto the tracks to relieve himself, police sources said. The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was struck at around 9:20 p.m. at the 191st Street station on the No. 1 line. Read More: New York Post

Knife-wielding thug attacks woman, ransacks Tribeca law firm: cops

A knife-wielding thief barged into a lower Manhattan law firm, shattered the jaw of a female employee, tied her up with a phone charger and ransacked the place, police sources said today. The mayhem started at 3:20 p.m. Monday, when the unidentified man was caught on video strolling into an office tower and talking to a doorman on Broadway near Walker Street. Read More: New York Post

NTSB cites ice in report on NJ crash that killed exec, family

Federal investigators have released a preliminary report on last week’s plane crash in New Jersey that killed five people. The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released late Monday draws no conclusions on what caused the December 20 crash. A final report could take a year or more to complete. The single-engine turboprop crashed about 15 minutes after takeoff from Teterboro Airport and was headed to Georgia. The report describes how pilot Jeffrey Buckalew radioed to air traffic controllers that he was experiencing icing and requested to climb to a higher altitude. The plane peaked at 17,900 feet before descending. Read More: New York Post

Husband faces civil suit in death of rich UBS wealth manager Shele Danishefsky Covlin

The Manhattan public administrator has gone where the cops and the DA have not: publicly accusing ex-stock trader Rod Covlin of killing his rich, beautiful wife two years ago. Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, a UBS wealth manager, was found dead in her upper West Side bathtub on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her scalp was cut and the death was ruled an accidental fall. Her Orthodox Jewish family refused an autopsy, and she was buried almost immediately, following religious tradition. Read More: Daily News

Court win for kin of World Trade Center cop

A hero cop injured at the Twin Towers on 9/11 died from World Trade Center-related cancer, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. The Appellate Division ruling means Frank Macri’s widow is entitled to accidental-line-of-duty death benefits — and, in fact, he will be listed as having died in the line of duty, said the family’s lawyers, Michael Murray and Christopher McGrath. “I’m at a loss for words,” his widow, Nilda Macri, told The Post. “Frank really deserves this honor. This would’ve meant a lot to him, to know he’s still remembered . . . He was a special, special guy.” Read More: New York Post

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to green Queens locomotives

Two fuel-efficient locomotives will roll through Queens in 2013 with technology designed to reduce pollution and lower costs for local businesses that use freight trains to move goods. With a $2 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, two conventional locomotives will be overhauled to use low-emissions diesel technology, the city Economic Development Corp. announced last week. Read More: Daily News

Ex-‘Saturday Night Live’ writer Joe Bodolai found dead after hotel room suicide

Former “Saturday Night Live” writer Joseph Bodolai has committed suicide in a Hollywood hotel room, the Los Angeles coroner’s office said Tuesday. Coroner’s office spokesman Craig Harvey said room service staff found the body of the 63-year-old Bodolai at 1:30 p.m. Monday in a room at Hollywood’s Re-Tan Hotel. He checked into the hotel December 19. Harvey said Bodolai drank a mixture of Gatorade and antifreeze. The death, first reported by celebrity website TMZ, has been ruled a suicide. Read More: Daily News

Winning $206M Mega Millions jackpot ticket sold at Long Island grocery store

One Long Island lottery player received a belated holiday gift Tuesday, but it was worth the wait: a $206 million jackpot. The winner nailed the five numbers picked in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing — 23, 32, 33, 39 and 43 — along with the “Mega Ball” of 8, the lottery said on its website. The winner has not yet come forward, said Christy Calicchia, director of communications for New York Lottery. Three other New Yorkers picked the first five numbers — but not the Mega Ball — and won $250,000 each. The lone jackpot-winning ticket was sold at a King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island. Read More: Daily News