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Far Rockaway woman faces 25 years to life in prison for running over man sitting on his walker: DA

Far Rockaway
Far Rockaway woman arraigned on murder and other charges for the fatal hit-and-run of an innocent bystander who was sitting on his walker. (Photo via Google Maps)

A Far Rockaway woman was arraigned Aug. 30 in Queens Criminal Court on murder and other charges for allegedly driving her car onto a sidewalk and fatally striking a 59-year-old man and another pedestrian outside a convenience store on Aug. 27, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Kiani Phoenix, 26, of Beach Channel Drive, allegedly intended to drive into a woman with whom she had a dispute and drove onto the Beach 20th Street sidewalk, where she plowed into Milton Storch as he sat on his walker just blocks from his Collier Avenue home. Phoenix then backed up the vehicle, allegedly struck the victim and sped away from the crime scene.

Phoenix was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jessica Earle-Gargan on a complaint charging her with murder, attempted murder, assault, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and criminal possession of a weapon.

According to the charges, on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 27, Phoenix first encountered a 27-year-old woman at the deli on Beach 20th Street near New Haven Avenue. The two women got into a heated argument that escalated into a physical altercation near a parked Honda Accord. Several onlookers watched the brawl including Storch, who was resting on his walker with his back against the deli wall. Several people attempted to separate the women and they stopped striking each other.

Video surveillance showed Phoenix jumping into the driver’s seat of the Honda Accord, putting it in reverse and then turning sharply to the right, allegedly at and toward the intended target, accelerating forward onto the sidewalk. The defendant then drove forward, striking Storch, who was unable to rise off his walker. The car stopped and accelerated in reverse, hitting a 36-year-old pedestrian behind the car. Phoenix drove off, heading west on New Haven Avenue.

EMS responded to the crime scene and rushed Storch to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The second man was taken to the same hospital and treated for back and hip injuries, prosecutors said. The woman involved in the physical altercation was not injured in the collision. Phoenix was arrested and booked at the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway on Aug. 29.

“As alleged this defendant is accused of killing an innocent man on the sidewalk and injuring another victim in an attempt to harm someone else with her vehicle following a heated argument,” Katz said. “The alleged criminal actions of this defendant resulted in fatal consequences, and she will now face justice in our courts.”

Judge Earle-Gargan ordered Phoenix to be held without bail and set a return date for Sept. 21. If convicted, Phoenix faces 25 years to life in prison.

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