Far Rockaway woman indicted by Queens grand jury on murder charges in fatal hit-and-run: DA

A Queens grand jury indicted Kiani Phoenix on murder charges in a Far Rockaway hit-and-run that killed a man resting on his walker. (Photo via Google Maps)

A Far Rockaway woman was indicted Thursday, Sept. 1 by a Queens grand jury on murder and other charges in the fatal sidewalk hit-and-run that killed a 59-year-old man who was resting on his walker on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 27.

Kiani Phoenix, 26, of Beach Channel Drive, is awaiting arraignment in Queens Supreme Court for allegedly driving onto a sidewalk outside a convenience store to hit a woman with whom she had an ongoing dispute. Phoenix allegedly plowed into Milton Storch as he sat on his walker just blocks from his Collier Avenue home and another pedestrian. Phoenix faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

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.

“The blatant disregard for human life allegedly displayed by the defendant is incomprehensible,” Katz said. “An entire neighborhood continues to mourn the senseless loss of a community member because of these criminal actions. The defendant has now been indicted on murder charges and will be held accountable.”.

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