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Middle Village cadet dies after losing control of car

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Peter Radske, 20, apparently lost control of the 1998 Ford Mustang when he swerved to avoid another car and hit a tree at about 3:30 a.m., said Sgt. Elias Nikas, a Police Department spokesman. Nikas said his car, which belonged to his mother, jumped the curb and drove up onto the sidewalk on the north side of the street. The other car fled the scene and police have made no arrests, Nikas said.

The Radske family could not be reached for comment.

The accident, which occurred directly across the street from Juniper Valley Park in the quiet neighborhood of Middle Village, has shaken residents who were congregating at the tree days after the accident. Cadet John Buthorn, another Police Department spokesman, said preliminary alcohol and drug tests turned up negative.

Messages saying "Peter - we will miss you" decorated the sidewalk and flowers and handwritten notes surrounded the tree where Radske lost his life.

This is the fourth fatal accident in Community Board 5 in the past month. At a meeting last month board members of CB 5, which covers Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth, made an impassioned plea to neighborhood residents to drive more carefully after two accidents last week took the life of an Elmhurst mother and injured three others, including her daughter.

Gary Giordano, CB 5 district manager, asked the board if anybody objected if he wrote a letter to Mayor Giuliani requesting a public statement saying the speed limit is 30 miles per hour in the city.

One resident who lived down the block and said he was not home at the time, said the crash woke up his mother Sunday, but she did not leave her home to see the accident.

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