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Astoria crash driver has record of drunk driving – QNS.com

Astoria crash driver has record of drunk driving

On the heels of a fatal collision at an Astoria intersection in the early morning hours of Sunday morning, November 16, authorities are questioning why Daryush Omar - “someone with a history of violence and drunk driving” - was behind the wheel of a car at all.
Omar, 24, of Plainview, Long Island, was arraigned on charges first- and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, running a red traffic signal light at excessive speed restrictions and ordered held without bail.
According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Omar, driving a 2004 white Range Rover westbound at a minimum of 45 miles per hour, blew through a steady red light at the intersection of 34th Street and 31st Avenue.
He then collided with a livery cab that was going southbound on 34th Avenue. The driver of the cab, Bessy Valasquez, 41, of Brooklyn, and the passenger, Panayiota Demetriou, 30, of 31-23 34th Street in Astoria, both suffered massive body trauma and were transported to a local hospital where they later died.
At the time of his arrest, Omar, who was reportedly born in a Pakistani refugee camp, allegedly admitted that he had two drinks and was driving the vehicle when he collided with another automobile. A breathalyzer text administered allegedly resulted in a reading of .176 percent blood alcohol content - more than twice the legal limit.
Omar had been charged with several traffic violations in recent years, including an earlier DWI arrest. His license was suspended 15 times previously.
He is also facing charges related to the May 2006 murder of Thomas Whitney, 24, but reports claim that prosecutors cannot locate witnesses.
“Among the many questions that must be answered in the coming days, the most important seems to be why someone with a history of violence and drunk driving was allowed to get behind the wheel of a car at all,” said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris.
“Our law enforcement authorities must be able to use all the tools at their disposal to prevent tragedies like this from happening. We must make it easier to use new technologies like alcohol-sensitive ankle bracelets to keep those with a history of driving drunk off the streets.”
Gianaris is the sponsor of legislation (A.8890) that would allow for increased use of alcohol-sensitive ankle bracelets.
His proposed legislation would create a 24 hours a day, seven days a week sobriety program in up to 10 counties that would require those accused of DWI and related offenses to submit twice a day to chemical testing or the wearing of a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) as a condition of pre-trial release. The wearing of SCRAM would also be a condition of probation for those convicted of a second offense.
Omar’s next court date is set for December 1. He faces up to 15 years in prison in convicted.
As if the incident were not tragic enough, Evangelos Fotiou, 42, of Long Island City, has been charged with petit larceny and second-degree obstructing governmental administration for allegedly entering the crime scene less than an hour after the crash and pocketing money that he found there.

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