An Astoria boy struck by an SUV while riding his bicycle on Ditmars Boulevard died Friday after nearly a week in a coma, raising the possibility of additional charges against the teen accused in the hit-and-run accident, the Queens district attorney said.
"The investigation is ongoing in an effort to obtain additional evidence to sustain the possible filing of additional criminal charges," a spokesman for the DA's office said.
Emmanuel Kanios, 19, of 25-39 80th St. has already been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and speeding in connection with the April 12 incident, the DA's office said.
A law enforcement source indicated that Kanios could face charges of criminally negligent homicide or second degree manslaughter if the investigation turns up evidence of gross negligence now that the boy has died.
The victim, 10-year-old Stefan Trajkovski, succumbed to his injuries Friday at Elmhurst Hospital Center, the hospital said. He had been in a coma since April 12.
"He was in the hospital fighting for six days," the boy's father, Zoran Trajkovski, told Newsday. "His lungs gave out, but his heart never gave up."
Stefan will be buried in Macedonia, his parents' native country, Newsday reported.
According to the criminal complaint, the boy was struck near 75th Street by Kanios as the 19-year-old was driving eastbound on Ditmars Boulevard in a 1998 Honda CRV.
Witnesses said the driver sped off immediately after the deadly collision. But according to police, Kanios turned himself in to the authorities later that night as the child lay in a coma in the pediatric intensive care unit at Elmhurst Hospital Center.
Kanios was arraigned April 13 in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens and pleaded not guilty to one count of leaving the scene without reporting the accident, the DA's office said.
If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison, but an additional charge of criminally negligent homicide could double that and second-degree manslaughter could mean an additional five to 15 years, the law enforcement official said.
Judge Steven Paynter released Kanios on $10,000 bail.
Zoran Trajkovski was incensed at that decision. At a memorial for his son Sunday, he said he wanted Kanios to be held more accountable for his son's death.
But Kanios's attorney, Kerri Katshorif, said the bail was actually high for a defendant with no prior record.
"This is not an intentional act. This is a horrific accident," he said. "This young man has to live with this for the rest of his life."
Kanios's voluntary surrender and the fact that he came up clean in alcohol and drug tests may also have been factors in the judge's decision, the DA's office said.
Katshorif added that he did not know which new charges might be filed against his client, because "everything is still up in the air." Although he would not rule out the possibility of a plea bargain when his client returns to court May 8, he said it was not likely.
Meanwhile, efforts were ongoing for the possible installation of a traffic signal at the intersection where the accident occurred.
Keith Kalb, a spokesman for the city Department of Transportation, said a traffic study was underway after the DOT received several requests for a traffic signal at the intersection.
One of those requests came from George Delis, the district manager of Community Board 1. But Delis doubted that a traffic light would have stopped Kanios if he were speeding.
"That location is not a dangerous location," Delis said. "That kid made it dangerous."
A traffic study typically takes 12 weeks so DOT should know by mid-July whether a traffic signal is needed at that location, Kalb said.
©2003 Community News Group
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