Florida man charged with DWI in Jax. Hts. crash: NYPD

By Sarina Trangle

A Florida man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated in the early Saturday morning collision that killed a pedestrian crossing Roosevelt Avenue near 92nd Street, the NYPD said.

Romulo Mejia, 42, of Bradenton, Fla., was arrested late Saturday and charged with driving while intoxicated and without a license, the Police Department said.

The NYPD said officers were called to the Jackson Heights intersection at about 4:30 a.m., where an adult man was found and then pronounced dead at the scene.

The unidentified victim was allegedly hit by Mejia, who was driving a red Ford Focus east on Roosevelt Avenue, police said. Mejia then allegedly veered into oncoming traffic and crashed into an empty, parked car, according to the NYPD.

Police said Mejia refused to take a Breathalyzer or other sobriety field tests.

He and the 35-year-old woman in the passenger’s seat were brought to Elmhurst Hospital Center in stable condition, according to the NYPD.

By Saturday afternoon, the NYPD said the woman had been released from the hospital and the driver was in police custody.

Mejia was later charged with vehicular manslaughter with a previous conviction for driving while intoxicated, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated unlicensed operator and driving while intoxicated with a previous conviction in the past 10 years, police said. Two of the four charges were more serious because he was convicted of driving while intoxicated within the past 10 years, according to the NYPD.

A few Roosevelt Avenue shop owners and workers said they found the usually bustling corridor blocked off by police when they came in Saturday morning.

Ahmed Salama said he saw the victim’s body lying in the middle of the street, sprawled across both lanes, at 9 a.m.

“When we came, the [medical] examiner was looking at the body,” he said.

A dark car roped off by police appeared to have been swiped on the side, according to Salama.

Jimmy Zhang said he drove into work at around 9:45 a.m., but found a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue roped off with yellow police tape.

“I went to find parking and when I came back, they were all gone,” he said.

By noon, little evidence of the accident remained, except for a stray piece of police tape and a votive candle.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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