A Queens man is facing manslaughter and drunk driving charges after a fatal collision with a scooter rider in Jackson Heights early Saturday morning.
Police say the scooter rider was traveling westbound on 37th Avenue shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov. 26 when he crashed into the back of a BMW sedan traveling southbound at the intersection with 82nd Street. The man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The BMW driver — 24-year-old Jairo Ortiz, of Flushing — remained at the scene. Police ultimately determined he was intoxicated and placed him under arrest; he faces charges of vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, and operating a motor vehicle without a license, registration, or insurance.
Local elected officials lamented the death of the scooter driver, who remains unidentified.
“Sad to lose someone so senselessly to traffic violence on Thanksgiving weekend,” said City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan on Twitter.
State Senator Jessica Ramos implored residents never to drink and drive lest another tragedy take place.
“Please do your part to keep our neighbors safe,” said Ramos. “There is absolutely no reason to drink and drive.”
Reps for the Queens District Attorney, whose office is prosecuting the case, did not return an inquiry from amNewYork Metro by press time.
A stretch of 37th Avenue in Woodside and Jackson Heights was deemed a Vision Zero “priority corridor” in 2019 following a spate of deaths between Woodside Avenue and 114th Street. Five pedestrians have been killed on the stretch in the past decade, according to NYC Crash Mapper.
In 2019 — just a block away from Saturday’s tragedy, at the intersection with 81st Street — a woman was killed after being run over by an unlicensed Long Island driver.
Major improvements have not been made to the corridors in the intervening years, however.
This was not the only deadly traffic collision in Queens over Thanksgiving weekend. In Far Rockaway, a 64-year-old man was killed on Black Friday after being struck by an SUV driver; police say the man was jaywalking.