By Naeisha Rose
Unedited surveillance footage of a hit-and-run incident that took place in Bayswater in August may help to clear a Far Rockaway man of one of the charges levied against him, according to Jack Burr, the manager at Legal A.R.T.S., a legal research, litigation design and technology firm.
The suspect in this case, Agostinho Sinclair, 41, was charged with hitting and seriously injuring an 11-year-old bicyclist with his car, then fleeing the scene in his hometown of Bayswater, a section of Far Rockaway, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office.
Prosecutors said that the video surveillance showed that on Aug. 13, at about 8:10 p.m., a dark four-door sedan struck the boy on the bike and the motorist before fleeing. Prosecutors said the car was depicted as having no front license plate and an out-of-state rear license plate.
The incident took place at the intersection of Healy Avenue and Dickens Street, a few blocks from Sinclair’s home, and the crash wrecked both the passenger headlight and the hood area, and resulted in the windshield being shattered on that section of the car as well, according to a criminal complaint filed by the DA.
After being apprehended Aug. 14, Sinclair was charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a serious physical injury, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving by an unlicensed operator.
Burr, who has seen an unedited version of the surveillance footage and shared it with TimesLedger Newspapers, said while Sinclair may be guilty of driving without a license and leaving the scene, the defendant was not speeding and that he was the one who was hit by the bicyclist. Burr claimed Sinclair may have saved the boy’s life by slowing down to swerve away from him.
“I personally think that he did two things wrong, and my sympathy goes with the young boy, but I hate to see when someone gets punished from something he didn’t do,” said Burr, who played the footage in slow motion and took notes of what he saw. “I believe he is being unjustly accused of certain crimes.”
Based on the unedited footage that was procured from a residence across the street from where the incident took place and posted on the Daily Mail’s website, Burr said the boy is seen speeding down the wrong side of the road without stopping at a stop sign and then emerges behind a parked vehicle that is in the opposite direction of him when his bike hits Sinclair’s car.
“It could have been anyone that met that bicycle on that road with no possible chance of avoiding a collision,” said Burr, whose firm uses multimedia technology to reconstruct crime scenes. “The bicyclist is ignoring a stop sign, and [he is] passing through the stop sign at full speed, and [the footage] also shows him going on the left side of the street instead of the right side, and it shows him coming out into the main street, directly next to a parked car, so the [driver] could not see him.”
Burr also stated had the bicyclist been a grown man, he would have been in trouble for violating three aspects of the Vehicle Code, by not stopping at the stop sign, riding at full speed and being on the wrong side of the road.
“[Sinclair] turned his car to the left and swerved to avoid a head on collision,” said Burr about the footage. “I personally believe that his quick actions saved that boys life because he was able to avoid a head on collision. I don’t like him driving without a license, and I don’t like him driving away from the scene, but I think that bicyclist owes him his life.”
If convicted, Sinclair could face up to seven years in prison, according to the criminal complaint.
“I hope this gives an opportunity educate mothers and fathers about their responsibility to keep their children safe,” said Burr. “Let’s try to cut down on the number of these collisions if we can.”
The Queens District Attorney’s Office was not available for comment as of press time.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose