New England man indicted on vehicular manslaughter charges in death of dirt bike rider on the Long Island Expressway

A motorist has been indicted on vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving charges in the death of a dirt bike rider near the Woodhaven Boulevard exit on the Long Island Expressway. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

A Connecticut man has been indicted by a Queens grand jury in the death of a dirt bike rider on the Long Island Expressway, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Jorge Serrano, 30, of Torrington, was arraigned Tuesday, Nov. 30, before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez on a 13-count indictment charging him with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and other crimes.

According to the charges, in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, Serrano was driving a silver 2012 Chevrolet Cruze westbound on the Long Island Expressway near the Woodhaven Boulevard exit in Elmhurst when he struck a moped and a dirt bike also headed westbound. After allegedly striking the dirt bike, Serrano’s vehicle dragged the bike and its rider approximately 100 yards along the highway. Serrano then drove away from the scene of the collision.

Responding police officers from the 110th Precinct and the NYPD Highway Patrol discovered 19-year-old Edwin Puma unresponsive at the scene bleeding from his mouth. He was immediately transported by EMS to Northwell Forest Hills Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

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

Katz said that following the collision, police officers observed Serrano’s vehicle parked on the curb and partially in the middle of a crosswalk at Maspeth Avenue and 61st Street, approximately two miles from the scene of the crash. As alleged, at the time of his 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 that Serrano’s blood alcohol level was 0.16, which is two times the legal limit.

A search of the Department of Motor Vehicles records showed the defendant allegedly was driving without a valid license.

“This is a senseless tragedy on a Queens highway caused by a motorist who allegedly chose to ignore the rules of the road, driving while drunk and without a valid license,” Katz said. “Now a man is dead and his family is left grieving a sudden and unnecessary loss. The defendant is now charged with very serious crimes.”

Justice Lopez set Serranos’s return date for Dec. 14. If convicted, Serrano faces up to 25 years in prison.

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