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Jamaica man sentenced to 19 years for fatally striking pedestrian with stolen car: DA

Feb. 17, 2023 By Bill Parry

A Jamaica man was sentenced on Friday to nearly two decades behind bars for causing the death of a pedestrian who was struck by the stolen car he was driving before jumping out to evade police in November 2019, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

One month later the same man drove into a second woman before beating her and stealing her purse, Katz announced on Friday.

Nigel Covington, 20, of 119th Avenue in Jamaica, pleaded guilty to assault and robbery before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder.

According to the charges, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on November 5, 2019, security camera footage captured Covington stealing a gray Hyundai Sonata from in front of a residence near the intersection of 110th Road and Sutphin Boulevard. Other footage shows the defendant in several locations near the Long Island Rail Road’s Jamaica station driving the stolen car with its headlights off.

Police in an unmarked vehicle noticed the car, followed it and observed Covington go through a red light near the intersection of 165th Street and Jamaica Avenue, the charges state. A check of the license plate showed that the vehicle was reported stolen less than an hour earlier. The officers activated their siren and lights. Covington pulled away at a high rate of speed, turning from 91st Avenue onto Sutphin Boulevard. Heading southbound, Covington jumped from the car to evade police. The still-moving, unoccupied vehicle careened into a crosswalk at the intersection of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, where it struck 60-year-old Bibi Zulaikah, pinning her under its wheels. She was pronounced dead later that night at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

The next month, according to the charges, on Dec. 15, 2019, at approximately 3:10 a.m., Covington was behind the wheel of a white sedan vehicle double-parked near the intersection of Booth Memorial Avenue and 153rd Street in Flushing. Covington accelerated the vehicle and struck 45-year-old Nortaliana Jimenez, as the woman stood near her own car. The impact knocked Jimenez onto the hood of a car parked nearby. Covington put the car in reverse and drove into the victim again, pinning her body between the sedan he was driving and a second car. Covington got out of his car and dragged the victim into a nearby gutter and punched her several times in the face and body. He verbally berated the woman and took her cell phone and purse, which contained her debit card and cash. Covington then got back behind the wheel of the white sedan and sped away.

Jimenez was discovered lying in the gutter by her son who heard her cries for help. A passing motorist called 911. Emergency responders took her to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for treatment of her injuries including a dislocated shoulder, broken leg, and severe lacerations.

On Dec. 19, 2019, police located a white Chevy Malibu sedan in Staten Island that was reported stolen from a residence in Queens six days earlier. The sedan contained several items, including a baseball bat and cigarette butts. DNA recovered from the cigarette butts matched database records identifying Covington. Jimenez identified Covington from a photo array as her attacker.

“For his violent, reckless disregard for the lives of others, the defendant is going to prison,” Katz said. “I hope the long sentence provides some measure of solace to the family of the deceased, and peace of mind to the victim of his brutal assault.”

Justice Holder sentenced Covington to two concurrent terms of 19 years in prison to be followed by five years post-release supervision.

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