Tag Archives: drunk driving

Bellerose man killed by drunk driver in Long Island hit-and-run

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Nassau County Police Department

A 22-year-old Queens man riding his bicycle on a Long Island street early Thursday morning was killed by a drunk driver, who later tried to flee the scene but was arrested, according to authorities.

On Oct. 1 at about 12:36 a.m. Melissa McKiski, a Florida resident, struck Charles Velasquez of Bellerose as he was riding his bicycle eastbound in the westbound curb lane on Old Country Road in Carle Place, Long Island, police said.

McKiski left the scene but was later apprehended at Herricks Road and Helen Road in Mineola.

Velasquez was taken to Winthrop University Hospital where at 4:32 a.m. he was pronounced dead.

McKiski was charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a fatality.


Corona man arrested for drunk driving on LIRR tracks in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of MTA PD

This guy took joy riding to a whole new level.

Ronny Mora, 25, of Corona was arrested Sunday night for allegedly driving his car while intoxicated on LIRR tracks in Long Island City and only coming to a stop after his car burst into flames upon striking a third rail, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, police were informed by a LIRR employee that on Sept. 20 between 10:45 and 11:43 p.m. he saw a 2011 Nissan Juke enter the train yard at the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. The employee added that he then saw the car drive eastbound on the track for about 3.25 miles.

The employee then saw the vehicle stop, and a man – later identified as Mora – exited the car and walked westbound on the track, authorities said.

Police then responded to a call of a vehicle stalled on the track and upon arrival saw the vehicle on fire.

A supervisor of transportation for the LIRR informed police that the train yard is enclosed by a fence to prevent intruders.

Cops later saw Mora sitting on the side of the tracks inside the train yard near the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. An officer noticed that Mora had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the criminal complaint.

The 25-year-old then allegedly admitted, “I had one beer, I drove my car onto the track, I’m sorry. I saw it sparking so I left.”

Mora was taken to the 112th Precinct stationhouse in Forest Hills, where he was administered an Intoxilyzer exam that indicated he had a blood alcohol level of 0.164 percent, well above the legal 0.08 limit.

According to the MTA, the fire forced the LIRR to suspend service between Penn Station and Jamaica for almost three hours while the FDNY extinguished the flames and LIRR personnel repaired the third rail – which suffered damages exceeding $1,500 and create a risk for serious injury to passengers on trains.

Mora faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting property damage.


Ex-NYPD detective pleads guilty to DWI, accidentally shooting partner in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A former NYPD detective who was busted for drunk driving and accidentally shooting his partner in Queens earlier this year pleaded guilty to the incident and was sentenced to undergo an intensive alcohol safety program, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Jay Poggi, 57, a Long Island resident who, according to police, was a member of Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, pleaded guilty Friday in Queens Criminal court to assault and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, prosecutors said.

In addition to the 12-week program, as a condition of his plea, Poggi must complete an awareness program for first-time DWI offenders, called a Victim Impact Panel, install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles registered to him and pay a $500 fine. His driver’s license has also been suspended.

In the early morning hours of April 24, Poggi was showing the hammer of his Smith and Wesson revolver to his partner, Det. Matthew Sullivan, when the gun went off, striking his partner in the right wrist, court records said. Poggi then drove Sullivan to Jamaica Hospital in their unmarked police car.

At the hospital, Poggi was observed with bloodshot eyes and was given a field sobriety test, which registered above the legal limit, at .113 percent, prosecutors said. He later refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills.

Poggi and his partner were supposedly on their way to conduct a robbery investigation in the Rockaways when Poggi accidentally fired the weapon, the New York Daily News reported. They were caught on camera drinking that night at The Wharf Bar & Restaurant in Rockaway Park.

In May, Poggi was terminated from the department following a recommendation from the Office of the NYPD Trial Commissioner.


NYPD captain busted for drunk driving in Forest Hills

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

An off-duty NYPD captain was charged with drunk driving after he rear-ended a vehicle in Forest Hills, according to court records.

The cop, identified by police as 38-year-old Captain Roberto Cruz, was at the intersection of Jewel Avenue and Grand Central Parkway at about 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday when he rear-ended his Ford sedan into a Jeep truck, the criminal complaint said. After smelling alcohol on his breath and noticing he was unsteady on his feet, police took Cruz to the 112th Precinct, where he refused a breathalyzer test, court documents said.

Cruz was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon and released on his own recognizance.


Off-duty NYPD cop charged with DUI after Bayside accident

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Update Monday, March 24 3:45 p.m.

An off-duty NYPD cop was arrested for drunk driving after crashing into a parked car in Bayside Saturday, according to officials.

Liam Donahue, 22, ran into an unoccupied vehicle on 40th Avenue near 217th Street about 5 a.m., authorities said.

Following the fender-bender, an officer said he observed Donahue with slurred speech, the smell of alcohol under his breath and that he was unsteady on his feet, according to the criminal complaint. Donahue, who, according to reports, works out of Patrol Borough Manhattan North, admitted he was driving when his Honda struck the parked car, causing extensive damage.

He refused a blood test and was taken to North Shore-LIJ for evaluation, the complaint said.



Man indicted in fatal Queensboro Bridge accident

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A Brooklyn DJ whose drunken joy ride allegedly killed a pedestrian and destroyed two businesses under the Queensboro Bridge now faces up to 25 years in prison.

Grant Riddell, 38, was indicted on charges of drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and three counts of vehicular assault in connection with the March 28, 2011 incident.

Around 4 a.m., Riddell was driving his red 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit on the Queens-bound off-ramp of the outer roadway of the bridge when he struck the guardrail at the intersection of Queens Plaza South and Crescent Street. The car flipped over and slid across the street, striking and killing Anthony Buscemi Jr., 68, who was walking on the sidewalk.

Riddell’s vehicle also crashed with into two businesses on Queens Plaza South — the Villa De Beaute Salon and Espinal’s Caribbean Restaurant — causing significant damage.

Front-seat passenger Melissa Cohen suffered severe head and body trauma, a broken right ankle, broken pelvis and a collapsed lung in the accident. According to reports, Riddell, who goes by the DJ pseudonym K1W1, lost his left arm.

After being taken to the hospital, the defendant’s blood was drawn and tested, indicating he had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent at the time of the crash. Riddell admitted to consuming several alcoholic beverages prior to operating his vehicle. Records also showed the defendant did not have a valid New York State license to operate a motor vehicle.

At Riddell’s December 13 court appearance, his lawyer submitted a plea of not guilty.

According to published reports, the owners of the damaged businesses have filed a $1 million lawsuit against Riddell and the city, citing poor construction of the ramp. Within 10 days, two cars crashed into the salon. The business owners could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Friday: Sunny, with a high near 52. West wind 8 to 13 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 39. Northwest wind around 9 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Carols ‘n’ Cookies ‘n’ Cocoa ‘n’ Cheer

Celebrate the season with warm wishes, delicious treats and the renowned choral group Voices That Blend. There will also be an Aquinas Honor Society video presentation of Jacob’s Gift, the story of how Jacob Riis brought Christmas caroling to the U.S. in 1911. Free admission and free parking on the grounds.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gov. Cuomo, Gov. Christie and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy demand quick action from Congress to provide $60 billion in disaster aid for states devastated by Sandy

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and 125 powerful CEOs issued an extraordinary plea to Congress on Thursday, demanding quick action on $60 billion in disaster aid for states devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Read more: Daily News

Five people arrested in Queens gun-trafficking crackdown

Authorities say five people have been arrested in a crackdown on gun trafficking in southeast Queens. The arrests were announced Thursday by District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Read more: NY Post

Air Serv JFK security workers vote to authorize strike

Security workers at JFK Airport who work for Air Serv authorized a strike Thursday for December 20, the middle of the Christmas rush, if their concerns are not addressed. The officers employed by Global Elite will vote Friday. Read more: NY1

‘Drunk’ driver in fatal Queensboro Bridge crash faces up to 25 years in jail after turning down plea deal

A man who turned down a six-month plea deal after cops said he drunkenly drove his car off a Queensboro Bridge ramp — killing a pedestrian and destroying two businesses – now faces up to 25 years in jail. Read more: NY Post

Benefit events the next step in Sandy recovery

The hammers and work gloves are giving way to guitars and open wallets. Now that the initial chaos and cleanup has subsided, local groups and officials are shifting their focus toward galas and concerts to benefit those whose lives were torn asunder by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Daily News

Queens nightclub owner acquitted in Teaneck double-homicide

Jurors in Hackensack on Thursday acquitted a Queens nightclub owner of a double street killing in Teaneck, rejecting prosecutors’ arguments that a cocaine scheme gone awry, an electronic trail to the crime scene, and his conflicting statements to police proved his guilt. Read more: The Record

Susan Rice pulls out as candidate for Secretary of State

Embattled UN Ambassador Susan Rice has taken her name out of the race for secretary of state, three months after her controversial comments on the Benghazi attack, according to broadcast reports today. Read more: NY Post


New York cracking down on Halloween DWIs

| brennison@queenscourier.com

In an effort to keep the streets safe during the days leading up to Halloween, New York announced a statewide DWI crackdown.

Between October 26-31, all the counties within New York will be setting up sobriety checkpoints a saturation patrol to deter and catch drunk drivers.

Motorists are reminded that driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will put them over the limit.

STOP-DWI, or “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated,” is a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program.



Cuomo announces stricter DUI laws

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Stock image

Booze, cruise and lose. New York is cracking down on intoxicated drivers.

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced an initiative to remove drivers with repeat alcohol or drug-related driving convictions from New York’s roads.

According to Cuomo, these more rigid regulations, enforced by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), will make the state among the toughest in the nation against drivers who persistently get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

“We are saying ‘enough is enough’ to those who have chronically abused their driving privileges and threatened the safety of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians,” said Cuomo. “This comprehensive effort will make New York safer by keeping these drivers off our roadways.”

Every year, more than 300 people are killed and 6,000 injured on roads throughout the state as a result of drunk driving.

Over the past few years, the percentage of crashes resulting in an injury where the driver had three or more alcohol related convictions has increased, spiking from 22 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2010.

Current law dictates that individuals with multiple DUI offenses cannot permanently lose their licenses. Under New York State law, the only scenario where a license could be indefinitely removed is if they have two alcohol or drug related convictions stemming from crashes that resulted in physical injury or death.

Under the new regulations, the DMV will deny applications for reinstatement of a license if the applicant has five or more alcohol or drug-related driving convictions during his or her lifetime or three or more alcohol or drug-related driving convictions in the last 25 years as well as one other serious driving offense during that period. Serious driving offenses include a fatal crash, accumulating 20 or more violation points within the last 25 years, or having two or more driving convictions each worth five or more points.

Forest Hills attorney Rochelle Berliner, who represents individuals busted for drunk driving, said cases where clients have multiple DUIs are uncommon.

“It’s a tough state to have a DUI arrest,” said Berliner. “There’s not a lot of flexibility with the district attorney’s office and this is going to make it worse.”

According to Berliner, penalties for drinking and driving vary depending on the county in which the arrest occurs and the perpetrator’s blood alcohol level during the police-administered Breathalyzer exam.

In Queens, if a first-offending individual’s blood alcohol level is relatively close to .08 — the legal limit in New York State — they have an increased chance of getting the misdemeanor infraction of impaired. Logging a blood alcohol level over .18 is known as aggravated and results in harsher consequences.

Berliner said she understood why there are constant efforts to increase the severity of the penalty for drinking and driving. However, the attorney was not completely convinced that the law will keep people from operating a car while intoxicated.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect a huge number of people but it just keeps increasing the negative penalties for a person who gets caught driving under the influence,” said Berliner. “It’s better to get people the help they need before they get to that point.”

David Diehl arrested for drunk driving in Astoria

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Big Blue left tackle David Diehl was busted for drunk driving in Queens on Sunday after crashing his car into several parked vehicles, reports said.

The 31-year-old offensive lineman smashed his car in Astoria at around 8:20 p.m., according to reports, after watching Croatia defeat Ireland in the Euro Cup.

The black BMW struck two vehicles on 35th Avenue, reports said. No one was hurt and he was arrested at the scene.

The Giants’ BAC was reported as .18 — more than double the legal limit. According to bloodalcoholcontent.org, for a 305-pound man that BAC would equal about 16 beers and eight shots over eight hours.

Diehl, who is of Croatian descent, tweeted “3-1 #hrvatska” following Croatia’s victory. Hrvatska is the Croatian word for the country.

If convicted, Diehl could face a fine or suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.