Arrest in deadly Astoria hit-and-run

Image via Google Maps

An unlicensed driver has been arrested for blowing through a stop sign before fatally striking a young woman in Astoria Saturday and fleeing the scene, prosecutors announced.

Nicholas Colleran, 24, of Astoria, was charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a death, third-degree falsely reporting an incident, failure to stop for a stop sign, driving by an unlicensed operator, failure to exercise due care and a violation of the city’s administrative code – right of way, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The victim, Betty DiBiasio, 21, was crossing a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 19th Street, just blocks from her home, at about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, when Colleran drove through a stop sign in his 2002 Chevy Impala without stopping and struck DiBiasio, according to officials.

Witnesses allegedly said that DiBiasio hit the driver’s side windshield before falling to the ground and the car drove off without stopping. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, Colleran allegedly called 911 about an hour after the accident to report his Chevy stolen and in a vehicle theft investigation report claimed it had been taken from a parking lot in the back of his residence. But later that morning, it was discovered in another location in Astoria with a broken windshield and driver’s side-view mirror, and a damaged driver’s side front fender.

There also appeared to be blood and hair in the driver’s side windshield, where it was broken, and, according to the district attorney’s office, was consistent with a vehicle striking a pedestrian and the pedestrian hitting the windshield.

On Sunday, Colleran turned himself in at the 114th Precinct in Astoria, where he allegedly admitted to police that he had two beers before driving and had struck DiBiasio. Colleran, who was unable to produce a valid driver’s license, also said that he panicked after hitting DiBiasio and fled the scene. He then called the police and falsely reported his vehicle stolen.

If convicted Colleran faces up to seven years in prison.