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Connecticut driver charged with vehicular manslaughter in death of dirt bike rider in Elmhurst

A Connecticut man is charged vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving in the Sept. 11 death of a dirt biker on the Long Island Expressway. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

A Connecticut man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving in the death of a dirt bike rider on the Long Island Expressway in Queens during the early morning hours of Sept. 11, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Jorge Serrano, 30, of Torrington, Conn., was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jeffrey Gershuny late Saturday night on an eight-count complaint for allegedly striking and killing a dirt bike rider as well as a moped rider who was hospitalized with a broken leg, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Serrano is facing several charges, including leaving the scene of an incident without reporting/death, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and criminally negligent homicide.

According to the charges, Serrano was driving a silver 2012 Chevrolet Cruze westbound on the Long Island Expressway around 5:15 a.m. near the Woodhaven Boulevard exit in Elmhurst when he struck a moped and a dirt bike also heading westbound. After striking the dirt bike, Serrano’s vehicle dragged the bike and its rider approximately 100 yards on the highway. Serrano then fled the scene.

Police from the 110th Precinct and the NYPD Highway Patrol responding to the scene discovered the rider of the dirt bike, a 19-year-old man, unresponsive and bleeding from his mouth. The victim was transported to Northwell Forest Hills Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Additionally, police found the second victim, a 23-year-old man, who had been riding the moped, conscious at the scene. He was transported to Northwell Forest Hills Hospital where he was treated for a broken leg, according to the charges.

Officers discovered Serrano’s vehicle partially parked on the curb and partially in the middle of the crosswalk at the intersection of Maspeth Avenue and 61st Street, nearly 2 miles from the collision scene. At the time of arrest, Serrano was observed to be in an intoxicated condition with bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. A breathalyzer was administered to the defendant more than two hours after the collision and showed Serrano’s blood alcohol content at .15, which is nearly two times the legal limit of .08, according to the charges.

After a search of the Department of Motor Vehicle database, it was determined that the defendant does not possess a valid driver’s license.

“This is another senseless tragedy on a Queens highway caused by selfish choices,” Katz said. “As alleged, the defendant ignored the rules of the road with fatal results. From the moment he got behind the wheel of the vehicle while intoxicated and without a valid license, he was a danger to anyone near him.”

Judge Gershuny ordered Serrano to return to court Sept. 16. If convicted, Serrano faces up to seven years in prison.

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