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Drunk driver who killed cyclist faces 2nd degree manslaughter charges

Photo: NBC News

The Long Island City man who struck and killed a Sunnyside bicyclist while drunk has been arraigned on second-degree manslaughter and other charges, according to the Queens District Attorney office.

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Alex J. Batista, 25, of 53-36 Van Dam Street, in Long Island City, Queens.

Batista was arraigned last Friday night before Queens Criminal Court Judge Michael Yavinsky on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of second-degree manslaughter, one count of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, one count of leaving the scene, one count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana. The defendant is charged in a separate criminal complaint with one count of disorderly conduct.

Batista, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held on $300,000 bail and to return to court on August 9, 2012.

District Attorney Brown said, “This defendant’s decision to get behind the wheel of a car while allegedly intoxicated is incomprehensible and cost an innocent young man his life. Drinking and driving is never a good idea – and all too often has deadly consequences. ”

District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, the defendant  was driving a 2006 Black Infinity M35 four-door sedan eastbound on Greenpoint Avenue at approximately 10:51 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at a high rate of speed when he struck the rear of a bicycle being ridden by the deceased victim, Roger G. Hernandez, 37, eastbound on Greenpoint Avenue between 39th Place and 39th Street, with the flow of traffic, causing Mr. Hernandez to be mounted on the hood of the defendant’s vehicle, to strike the windshield and then to be thrown off the vehicle and onto the roadway near 39th Place.  Mr. Hernandez was pronounced dead at approximately 10:57 p.m., at the scene as a result of massive head and body trauma.

The District Attorney further said that, the defendant allegedly fled the scene in his vehicle, which was subsequently observed to be crashed into a building at 58-16 Laurel Hill Boulevard, approximately 10 blocks from the scene of the collision with Mr. Hernandez. The defendant was allegedly laying on the sidewalk a few car lengths from his vehicle in what appeared to be intoxicated condition with bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, an odor of alcohol, and acting in an extremely belligerent manner. Police allegedly recovered two bags of marihuana from the defendant. In a second criminal complaint the defendant is charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly being highly uncooperative with police at the scene and approaching a police officer in a threatening manner after being told to stay back.

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10 Responses »

  1. And we all think “bike lane” would have saved him? NO WAY it would.. Bike lane is nothing but a false safety for bikers, lane or no later, especially if it is a “shared lane” like the joke they have on 48th street, I’d say it’s better we have no lanes at all.

    make an ACTUAL bike lane between the parked cars AND sidewalk, then it will be OK. Otherwise, NO TO BIKE LANES polluting and cramping our streets.

    Oh the report of weed showing up at the end is very funny.. It should be mentioned first, he was HIGH ON WEED and crashed his vehicle. Case closed.

  2. umm…..what about the strong odor of alcohol?! He was DRUNK

  3. Hey Webley,

    I ride my bike all the time, I wear a helmet and use the bike lanes, and I obey the traffic laws. Do us a favor and learn how to share – there’s enough room for everyone.

    Bike lanes, like many of the lines painted on the street, and not meant to protect but to guide traffic. That double yellow line in the middle of the street is not there to protect me from the drunk that’s headed in my direction, but to delineate space to help keep traffic orderly.

    (PS I think, based on what I read, was that “weed” played a minimal role in this story. It’s certainly worth mentioning, but the fact that this guy was drunk is what really matters. I wonder where he was coming from? A bar?)

    Smitty

  4. I have zero sympathy for drunk drivers. The ones that kill should spend the rest of their lives doing hard labor.

  5. Can someone explain why the neighborhood smelled like burning plastic tonight???

  6. As a driver in NYC, I very much appreciate bike lanes and the cyclists who use them. It defines clear boundaries and helps to always remind me to look in my review mirrors when turning. Further, it keeps cyclists in a certain area, letting me know where to look for them.

  7. Thanks, Atom. My experiences on the roads around here have been positive and I’m happy to cooperate with others on the road, especially truck drivers!

  8. I noticed the burning smell Monday evening too.

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