Two men were killed in Queens in separate car collisions this week, the Queens District Attorney Office announced on Friday.
Around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Taher Ali Hassan, 63, of Cypress Hills was driving a black Chevrolet Trailblazer westbound on the Belt Parkway near Howard Beach when he struck the back of a black Nissan Pathfinder. As the two drivers exited their cars to exchange information on the parkway, Jason Bical drove a Chevy Malibu at a high speed into Hassan, Queens DA Melinda Katz said in a press release.
Hassan was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with head trauma and died of his injuries Thursday. The 34-year-old Bical, of Brooklyn, was charged with first-degree vehicular assault and drunk driving. A breathalyzer test showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.17%, more than twice the legal limit, at the time of the crash, according to the DA’s office. Police said Bical initially refused to take a breathalyzer test. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
“When the coronavirus prompted the city to lockdown our schools and businesses, the highways and streets became vast open spaces without daily commuters. When traffic returned too many continued to ignore the rules of the road,” Katz said in a statement.
Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Christian Carrion-Rivera was driving a stolen Acura sedan westbound on Ditmars Boulevard in East Elmhurst near LaGuardia Airport with a friend inside, Katz said. Carrion-Rivera was driving at a high rate of speed when he slammed into two trees on the north side of the boulevard, spun into the westbound lanes and landed on the center median strip, Katz said.
Carrion-Rivera, 26, of Corona, fled the scene on foot and was apprehended by police after a brief foot chase, according to police. First responders found Felix Lopez, 24, of Jamaica unconscious and unresponsive in the front passenger seat, the DA’s office said. Lopez was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst where he died of his injuries.
Police also found a backpack with heroin in the car, according to Katz.
Carrion-Rivera was charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the third and fifth degree, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting death, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. If convicted, Carrion-Rivera faces up to seven years in prison.
“As we near the end of the year, we have seen a 21 percent increase in vehicular deaths compared to 2019. This is unacceptable. Driving at excessive speed or driving while drunk or high creates heartache and unnecessary grief. The two defendants now face serious charges,” Katz said.