Tag Archives: St. Albans

Man run over by own vehicle at St. Albans gas station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 56-year-old man was seriously hurt Monday night when he was run over by his own vehicle at a St. Albans gas station, according to police.

The victim had neglected to put his Ford SUV into park as he was going to fill up his tank at the Gulf station at Merrick and Farmers boulevards around 6:30 p.m. and it started rolling forward, cops said. As he tried to stop the vehicle, it ran him over.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition with severe head trauma, authorities said.

 

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Motorcycle rider dies in St. Albans collision


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

A man died Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle in St. Albans, collided with a car and was hurled off the bike, according to police.

Pastor De La Cruz, 45, was traveling eastbound on Liberty Avenue around 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of Farmers Boulevard when he lost control of his Suzuki GSXR 750 motorcycle, cops said.

He hit a Jaguar, which was stopped at a red light, and slid on the pavement before stopping against a Nissan Frontier behind the Jaguar, police said.

De La Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police charged the driver of the Nissan Frontier, a 59-year-old woman, who remained at the accident scene, with DWI, according to authorities.

 

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Police arrest St. Albans teen for firing gun in Jamaica


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD


Cops arrested a fleeing 19-year-old shooter who fired two rounds at a group of people in Jamaica.

Michael Jones of St. Albans got into a verbal dispute with the group around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday near Merrick Boulevard and 119th Avenue, police said.

Jones pulled out a gun from his waist and started to shoot the people, cops said. No one was injured, according to officials.

Officers that were driving nearby jumped out of an unmarked car and chased Jones, who threw away his gun before he fled, authorities said.

Jones was caught and arrested around Merrick and Baisley boulevards. He was charged with weapon possession, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest, according to police.

The incident was the second shooting that occurred on Merrick Boulevard on Saturday. A 35-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday morning inside Edge Bar and Lounge on the boulevard, cops said.

Police did not reveal whether the incidents are connected.

 

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Queens residents create new children’s educational show


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshots via “Spell a Word” video

JANAE HUNTER

Two St. Albans men have created a new educational children’s show they hope will generate an interest in spelling.

Allan Pope and Isaac Brown of St. Albans recently shot promotional episodes for their new show, “Spell a Word,” aimed at elementary and middle school students. The show would feature students ages 8 to 12 competing to earn points and win prizes.

“The idea started with my granddaughter,” Pope said. “I asked her, ‘Do you really think you can spell?’ and she said ‘yes’ and she spelled a word for me.”

“Spell a Word” has a total of four rounds: a general word round, a category of words, a lightning round and a buzz round. At the end of all four rounds, the player with the most points wins and earns prizes such as scholarships, educational bonds and trips. For the promo episodes, Pope and Brown used students from the Queens area, but they plan to use students from all over the country if the show gets picked up.

“We think we have a good idea — this could help and motivate students all over,” Pope said.
Brown thinks that the idea could even turn into more than a TV show: “With social media so big, this could even be made in to an app one day, and teachers could integrate it into their classrooms,” he said.

The duo expresses that this show could eventually go international because children and language will always exist, and because without communication, it’s difficult for people to progress in the world. Pope said anyone can become a great mathematician or scientist, but not without spelling and communication.

The challenge is generating funding and exposure for the show. Pope and Brown estimate that getting the show up and running on their own could cost millions, but with help from sponsors, they hope to get the show on a network soon.

 

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Douglaston Eagle Scout prospect collects donations for St. Alban’s Veterans Hospital


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

This scout has honor.

Douglaston teen Michael Tuffey is collecting personal care items for the Veterans Affairs Community Living Center at St. Alban’s to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank for members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Tuffey, a Life Scout in Troop 153 with 31 badges, has already collected hundreds of personal products, including body wash, shaving cream, deodorant and shampoo, for the nearly 140 male veterans living at the home. He plans to continue the drive until June 20.

“Sometimes for projects it’s refurbishing a park or a playground or a community center,” Tuffey said. “But I wanted to give back to people. I thought this was a really worthy cause because these guys have obviously done a lot and they definitely deserve to have something given back to them.”

Tuffey, 16, is a junior at Xavier High School in Manhattan and is a member of the track team and the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). He was inspired to help the veterans because of his affiliation with the reserve training group. He initially approached the hospital to ask for their needs and received a list of personal care items.

To collect the donations, Tuffey set up two drop-off stations, one at Douglaston French Cleaners on Northern Boulevard at Douglaston Parkway, and another at HOME NY Real Estate at 40-60 Douglaston Parkway. He has also contacted and received donations from various organizations, including local churches, and handed out flyers on Memorial Day to spread the word about his campaign.

The project is the final step for Tuffey, who has been with the BSA since the Cub Scout level in second grade, to complete his longtime dream to become an Eagle Scout.

“It would mean a lot,” he said of the honor. “It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of years of being involved.”

Anyone willing to donate can drop off items at the stations in Douglaston or contact Tuffey at mtuffeyeaglescoutproject@aol.com.

 

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Driver charged in Brooklyn crash that killed 9-year-old St. Albans girl


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A man suspected in a Brooklyn hit-and-run smashed into two vehicles, killing a young Queens girl Sunday after he fled a traffic stop, police and reports said.

Kenneth Palache, 62, of Huntington, Long Island, has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident-failure to show license and aggravated unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle in connection with the deadly crash, police said.

Palache was traveling south on Remsen Avenue in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn at about 5 p.m. when his Honda minivan struck a Hyundai sedan and Toyota minivan, which were both traveling west on Avenue N, according to officials.

A passenger in the Hyundai, identified as 9-year-old Rebecca Ramnarine, of St. Albans, was taken to Brookdale Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said. She was on her way back from church when she was killed, according to published reports.

Rebecca’s mother, who was reportedly close by when the crash happened, described her daughter as “rambunctious” to the New York Post, saying “she loved to dance” and “wanted to be a pediatrician.”

Two other occupants of the Hyundai and three occupants of the Toyota were taken to Brookdale Hospital in stable condition.

Shortly before plowing into the vehicles, Palache had been involved in a hit-and-run accident around Foster Avenue and East 87th Street, according to published reports. Police attempted to pull him over near Remsen Avenue near Avenue L, but he fled, reports said.  Cops were not in pursuit when the collision occurred.

 

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Two teens arrested in attempted abductions of girls in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Two suspects wanted in connection to the attempted abductions of several young girls off the streets of Queens have been arrested, police said.

Joshua Wright, 17, and Andrew Ghulam, 16, both of Queens, have been charged with two counts each of attempted unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, officials said.

The first victim, an 11 year-old girl, was approached about 4 p.m. Wednesday as she was heading home from school near 111th Avenue and 208 Street in Queens Village.

After she noticed a dark-green SUV, with two men inside of it, slowly following her, the passenger, who was wearing a black mask, exited from the vehicle, and tried to talk to the girl, cops said. She then ran away and the suspects fled in the car.

A short time later, around 113th Avenue and 196th Street, in St. Albans, three girls, a 10-year-old and two 11-year-olds, noticed they were being followed by a green Jeep Cherokee. The driver handed a gun to the passenger then pulled a mask over his face before getting out of the SUV, according to police. The girls then hid behind a parked vehicle as the two men drove by them. The suspects circled back and passed the victims again before leaving the area in their car.

 

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Drag racers busted in Maspeth


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Cops slammed the brakes on illegal drag racing after an early-morning bust Sunday in Maspeth led to six men facing possible jail time, authorities said.

Dozens of spectators crowded the streets at about 1:15 a.m. to watch the men drag race down Laurel Hill Boulevard between 48th and 58th streets, eventually leading to police blocking off the area.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is hoping that these arrests will discourage other drag-racing enthusiasts from taking to the streets.

“These arrests send a clear message that disregarding the safety and welfare of Queens residents will not be tolerated,” Bratton said in a statement.

The defendants — Michael Rivera, 21, of Manhattan; Shawn Marr, 19, of Uniondale; Michael James, 25, of Brooklyn; Antonio Nolesco, 23, of Manhattan; Edgar Lozano, 26, of Jamaica; and Edward Henry, 21, of St. Albans — were currently awaiting arraignment in Queens County Court, as of late Monday, on charges of second-degree reckless endangerment, vehicle and traffic violations and reckless driving.

“Drag racing poses a serious threat to public safety,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Such illegal speed contests have no place on the streets of our city.”

Brown said defendants Rivera, Marr, James and Nolesco were allegedly drivers in the drag races while Lozano and Henry were allegedly starters for several of the races. The drivers’ cars and smartphones were seized as part of the ongoing investigation.

 

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Arrest made in 2012 murder of Queens man


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Authorities apprehended a man in Georgia and charged him with murder two years after he allegedly killed a 24-year-old in St. Albans, cops said.

Tracy Johnson, 28, is accused of shooting 24-year-old Shakey Foster-Bay on May 19, 2012 on Galway Avenue, according to officials.

Police said he shot Foster-Bay several times, wounding him in the arm, leg and torso.

The shooting may have resulted from a dispute over a woman, according to the New York Daily News.

Johnson has been charged with second-degree murder, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.

 

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Police seek suspect who followed, exposed himself to women in St. Albans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops have released a photo of a suspect’s vehicle after he was allegedly caught pantless by two women inside his parked vehicle after following them.

The victims, two women in their 20s, were walking down 120th Avenue near 198th Street in St. Albans about 5 p.m. on March 20 when they noticed the suspect inside his car with his legs and feet on the dashboard, police said.

After they passed by the man, he followed them in his vehicle and parked in a place to make sure the women passed by him again, according to officials. When the women walked by the suspect, he was naked from the waist down with his legs on the dashboard.

The victims then fled the scene, cops said.

Police describe the suspect’s car as a grey and green 2003 Subaru Legacy.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Police: Man exposes himself to women on St. Albans street


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man was allegedly caught exposing himself to two women while inside a car on a St. Albans street, cops said.

The incident happened about 5 p.m. Thursday on 120th Avenue near 198th Street, according to police.

The 25-year-old woman who reported the lewd act told cops the man was pantless and driving a green SUV when he exposed himself to her and another woman.

A video obtained exclusively by PIX11 from the victims shows the man masturbating near a bus stop.

The women told PIX11 they were jogging down 120th Avenue when they witnessed the suspect touching himself. The man then allegedly followed the women, parked next to another bus stop and started masturbating again.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

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Police: Three suspected armed robbers tied to two other Queens crimes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

The three suspects wanted for robbing a Queens Village hair salon at gunpoint last week have been tied to two other store robberies in the borough, police said.

Last Saturday, the trio, each wielding a gun, forced clerks at a 22-06 Hempstead Ave. salon to the back of the store about 7:25 p.m., authorities said. They stole money, cell phones and hair products before fleeing.

Police said the suspects are also responsible for robbing two St. Albans delis, located two blocks from each other.

The first incident took place last Wednesday at 113-27 Farmers Blvd., while the second happened Sunday at 114-25 Farmers Blvd.

Both times, the suspects left with an undetermined amount of money, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). 

 

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Queens elementary school teacher sentenced to 35 years for sexually abusing students


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Queens elementary school teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing five of his students has been sentenced to 35 years in prison, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

In June, Simon Watts, 42, of St. Albans, was found guilty of sexual abuse, sexual conduct against a child, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child, said prosecutors.

According to trial testimony, said Brown, the crimes took place while Watts was working as a third- and fourth-grade teacher at P.S. 15 Jackie Robinson in Springfield Gardens between September 2007 and March 2010.

During that time, he abused four females and one male, ranging between eight and 10 years old.

 

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New school opening in St. Albans


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office Of Councilmember Leroy Comrie

A new elementary school is coming to St. Albans to help alleviate overcrowding in the neighborhood’s existing schools.

The current St. Pascal Baylon Roman Catholic Church on 112th Avenue is being renovated into the new school, P.S. 892, and will welcome about 380 students.

“Once P.S. 892 opens, it will help relieve the overcrowding currently taking place at P.S. 118 and P.S. 134, while helping to ensure our youth have the resources to learn and be successful in the future,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, who advocated for the renovation.

The abandoned church was once home to the Police Athletic League where they were able to provide various youth services to the community. However, after the group left the building, residents grew concerned not only that there would be a decrease in resources for their young people, but also that the site would be negative on the community, Comrie said.

But the new school is on its way. Once the $19 million renovation is complete, estimated to be by July 2014, students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade will walk through the doors and head to one of the 13 standard classrooms, two pre-kindergarten rooms or two special education classrooms.

It will also have a gym, science/art resource room, music suite, library, cafeteria, kitchen and an outdoor playground.

The building will additionally be equipped with wireless routers and LAN lines for Internet access, as well as interactive white boards in the classrooms.

An opening date has not yet been decided but is projected for 2015.

“We’re working hard as we can to work with and deliver for this community, and the new school reflects our efforts,” said a Department of Education spokesperson. “Anytime we open a new school, we’re confident it will achieve great outcomes for kids. When we can do it in a new building, even better.”

 

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LL Cool J returns to Queens for Jump and Ball Tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It’s not just Ladies who Love Cool James.

The rapper and actor, whose real name is James Smith, was surrounded by hundreds of male and female fans and residents for pictures and hugs as he made his way through Daniel O’Connell Park to watch the games of his 9th annual Jump and Ball Tournament on Saturday.

LL Cool J, who stars in “NCIS: Los Angeles,” started the tournament along with State Senator Malcolm Smith to give back to his community.

“There are a lot of artist who come out of southeast Queens, but I can tell you this is the only one I know who has stepped up and said ‘I want to give something back,’ and has stuck with it for nine years,” the senator said.

The event, which features basketball games every weekend until September 1, is free to register and participate. In past weeks there was also live music, free food and a variety of other family fun activities, including golf, chess, tennis, a karate showcase and rope tricks by Cowboy Curly Hall.

“I think it’s wonderful that he does this for the community,” said St. Albans resident Leticia Moore-Jackson. “He never forgot where he came from. He’s a great rapper, entertainer and a great person.”

Coming back home was special for James as well, because he said his schedule forces him to be everywhere around the country and sometimes abroad. He delivered a message to the children at the park about believing in your dreams, despite what others may say.

“Anything you really truly believe deep down inside you, you can accomplish,” he said. “And I don’t want you to ever think that because you’re from this neighborhood, my neighborhood, that you’re somehow relegated to only having a certain amount of success or you’re only able to do certain things based on where you’re from or the color your skin or what someone else says about you. Don’t believe that because it’s not true.”

James said the basketball tournament has turned into an important part of the year for the community and it is a significant event for him as well.

“This is the hood and basketball is just a big part of how we came up and how we grew up and I wanted to make sure that they had an opportunity to play and have fun,” he said. “I think they love it and I love it.”

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