Dec. 12, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Two men were charged for their roles in separate deadly crashes this week in Queens, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Friday.
The first man, 26-year-old Christian Carrion-Rivera, who allegedly crashed a stolen vehicle in East Elmhurst Tuesday– leaving his passenger to die, was slapped with multiple charges Wednesday including fleeing the scene of a deadly crash and possession of stolen property.
The second man, 34-year-old Jason Bical, was charged with vehicular assault, drunk driving and other crimes Thursday for allegedly plowing into a driver who had stepped out of his car onto the roadway following a fender-bender. The incident took place on the Belt Parkway in the early hours Wednesday morning.
In the Tuesday crash, Carrion-Rivera, from Corona, was allegedly speeding in a stolen black Acura sedan at around 9 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle, the charges state.
He veered off the road on Ditmars Boulevard at 94th Street and slammed into two trees, which sent the car into the westbound lanes. The vehicle came to a stop on the center median strip and Carrion-Rivera stepped out of the driver’s seat and fled on foot, according to the complaint.
He left 24-year-old Felix Lopez, who was unconscious and unresponsive, in the passenger seat. Lopez, of Jamaica, Queens, was rushed to a local hospital, where he died a short time later.
Carrion-Rivera, meanwhile, was cuffed by police after a short foot chase. Police allegedly recovered a backpack from inside the Acura that contained heroin and said that Carrion-Rivera had no valid driver’s license at the time of the crash.
The defendant was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting death, criminal possession of a controlled substance and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
The vehicle was allegedly stolen from a driveway in Brooklyn, according to police. Carrion-Rivera is set to return to court on Feb. 18 and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, Katz said.
Meanwhile, Bical is accused of killing a man with his car on the Belt Parkway.
Just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, the now-deceased man, Taher Ali Hassan, and another driver had gotten into a minor crash on the Belt Parkway near exit 20. Both drivers stopped their vehicles and got out to exchange information, according to the charges.
Seconds later, Bical, who was allegedly speeding, struck Hassan in his Chevrolet Malibu. Hassan, a 63-year-old Brooklyn man, was rushed to an area hospital with severe head trauma. He succumbed to his injuries Thursday, Katz said.
Bical of Brooklyn was arrested and given a breathalyzer test. According to the test, Bical’s blood alcohol content was .17 at the time of the crash — more than double the legal limit.
He was charged with vehicular assault and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He is set to return to court on Feb. 11. If convicted, Bical faces up to seven years in prison.
Katz said many drivers are being reckless, a habit they picked up during the early months of the pandemic when there was little traffic. Now that traffic has returned, she said, many drivers still ignore the rules of the road, which has led to an uptick in traffic fatalities.
“As we near the end of the year, we have seen a 21 percent increase in vehicular deaths compared to 2019,” Katz said in a statement. “This is unacceptable. Driving at excessive speed or driving while drunk or high creates heartache and unnecessary grief.”