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Flushing driver charged with fleeing deadly crash

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A Flushing man was arrested last Thursday for allegedly leaving the scene of a seemingly minor car accident in Maspeth that caused the death of a Glendale man riding in another automobile, authorities said.

Edward Fitzsimons, 35, of 35-70 163rd St. in Flushing, allegedly crashed his red Ford van head-on into another car at the intersection of Flushing Avenue and 64th Street around 8:20 p.m. Jan. 4 when he failed to negotiate a left turn, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney's office.

Fitzsimons then left the scene without displaying his license and insurance information or giving the other driver a means of contacting him, the complaint alleges.

The accident killed Michael Maroney, 57, of 65-70 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale, who had been riding in the front passenger seat of the other car on his way to church.

After learning of the arrest, Maroney's 20-year-old son Christian said his family does not bear any hard feelings toward Fitzsimons.

"I'm praying for him right now because I know how difficult it must have been for him to be responsible for someone's death," Christian Maroney said Tuesday. "If we get the opportunity, we want to try to talk to him to let him know we forgive him for what he did. I know my father would want it that way, too."

Maroney's family said the driver who struck his car had rolled down his window to ask if everyone was okay, then drove away before the extent of Maroney's injury was apparent.

Fitzsimons was arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of leaving the scene and failure to yield by Judge Suzanne Melendez, who released him without setting bail, a spokeswoman for the DA's office said. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 13.

The accident appeared minor since both cars had been driving at moderate speeds and the vehicles were not significantly damaged, Maroney's family members said.

But his daughter Victoria Maroney said the accident was fatal for her father because he suffered from a condition that limited the mobility of his neck, which snapped from the force of the collision, making it impossible for him to breathe, she said.

Maroney started gasping for air immediately after the accident and died shortly past 9 p.m. at St. John's Hospital from traumatic injury suffered in the accident, a hospital spokeswoman said.

He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Elfriede Maroney, 57; daughters Victoria, 22, and Claudia, 21; and sons Christian, 20, and Peter, 14.

Maroney lived his whole life in the vicinity of Ridgewood, where he grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 children.

A chef who cooked at a Brooklyn girls Catholic school, Maroney had just left a party celebrating Victoria's graduation from nursing school at the time of the accident.

"He was a wonderful man," Victoria Maroney said. "He had a wonderful sense of humor. He always gave up his time."

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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