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Hit-and-runs kill one, injure another in Queens

By Gabriel Rom

A series of hit-and-run crashes throughout Queens and the tri-state area left two people critically injured and three dead Sunday evening, including an off-duty rookie cop stationed in Far Rockaway.

The two Queens crashes, which occurred in Jamaica and Ozone Park, left one dead and one critically injured.

In all five incidents the motorists fled the scene, police said. No arrests had been made, and as of Monday morning all five incidents remained under investigation, police said.

The string of collisions started in the Bronx, just before 1:30 a.m., authorities said.

Less than an hour later, at around 2:30 a.m. in South Jamaica, a 22-year-old woman was struck by a silver minivan as she was crossing Guy R. Brewer Boulevard at 118th Road, police said. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital unconscious and was listed in critical condition.

About two hours later, police were called to 111th Street near 109th Avenue in South Ozone Park, where a man identified as Besik Shengelia was hit as he was trying to collect items in the back seat of his car, police said.

Shengelia, 48, of Brooklyn, was reported by police as unconscious and unresponsive in the roadway when the authorities arrived. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

About 30 minutes later on the New Jersey Turnpike, Police Officer Vincent Harrison, 25, was killed after surviving a collision with an SUV during a lane change when a third vehicle struck and killed him as he stood on the highway shoulder, state police said.

The 100th Precinct, where Harrison was stationed, was already reeling from another shock with Capt. Matthew Hanrahan recovering from a heart problem.

“This senseless and deplorable act robbed our community of a bright young officer who, in his short career, dedicated himself to making our community a better place,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach).

“While we mourn the loss of Officer Harrison, our thoughts and prayers also turn to the 100th Precinct’s executive officer, Capt. Matthew Hanrahan as he recovers from a cardiac arrest,” Goldfeder said. “These twin tragedies encourage us to remember the quiet, fragile humanity of the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,.”

Hit-and-run accidents were also reported in SoHo in Manhattan, with one victim listed in critical condition and in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with one victim reported dead.

Queens has faced a 2.3 percent uptick in injuries to motorists and passengers since 2013 and is now the only borough where injuries to drivers and passengers exceed 2013 levels, when the Vision Zero program began, according to a 2015 report put out by Make Queens Safer, a grassroots street-safety advocacy organization.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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