Aug. 22, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The NYPD is investigating two officers from the 108th Precinct to see whether they played any part in a horrific crash in Long Island City Friday that left two ATV riders dead, according to a report in the New York Daily News
The police probe is examining whether a police chase conducted by Officers Niketas Janios and Marya Cardona Quintero played a role in the ATV riders smashing their 1999 Yamaha Chappy ATV into a Freightliner tractor trailer on the Queensboro Bridge Lower Roadway at around 1:40 a.m.
The officers have been placed on restricted, or modified duties, while the investigation takes place, according to the publication. Police confirmed these details with the Queens Post.
It is understood the investigation will look into the lead-up to the smash where the bike riders – who police say were traveling at a high rate of speed and against traffic — hit the truck causing them to fall to the roadway.
The driver, Angel Lopez, 22, was then run over by the rear tire of the truck, causing severe head and body trauma. EMS pronounced him dead at the scene.
The passenger, who has yet to be identified, sustained severe head and body trauma and was transported by EMS to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center where he later died.
Neither victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident, police said.
According to the New York Daily News, the victims were alongside another rider, James Hendrickson, 21, when cops began chasing them in an unmarked police car.
The riders got away from the car before Officers Janios and Quintero took over the pursuit in a marked police vehicle.
Lopez, of the Bronx, then headed westbound on the Queensboro Bridge Lower Roadway — toward the Manhattan-bound entrance of the bridge – when the Yamaha ATV struck the front passenger side of the truck.
The Freightliner was traveling eastbound on the Queensboro Bridge lower roadway. The 36-year-old truck driver was uninjured and remained at the scene, police said.
Hendrickson then called 911 before leaving the scene. He returned to the location later and police arrested him on an unknown outstanding warrant, according to the report.
Lopez, the deceased driver, was arrested in the Bronx in April on an attempted murder charge. He also has prior arrests for robbery, according to the publication.
It is unclear what exactly led to the police chase, although it is likely that officers were attempting to apprehend them for riding illegally on the road, since ATVs are forbidden from being used on city streets.
Residents have long complained about ATV and dirt bike riders driving recklessly on roads and sidewalks. Eric Adams has vowed to get tough on the illegal riders tweeting in June that they “endanger the lives of New Yorkers.”
Meanwhile, the move to place the officers on modified duties drew criticism from Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch Sunday.
“The NYPD needs to decide whether enforcing quality of life issues is really a priority,” Lynch said in a statement.
“These police officers and cops across the city have been told to prioritize getting illegal bikes and ATVs off the streets because the community is sick of them. They should not be punished for doing the job they were sent out to do.”
The victims smashed their 1999 Yamaha Chappy ATV into a Freightliner tractor (Photo: Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)