Today’s news:

Driver gets prison in Flushing granny’s death

The driver, Michael Hirn of 49-19 169th St., was making a lefthand turn from 43rd Avenue onto 163rd Street in Flushing on July 24, 2004 when his Dodge pickup truck hit the woman, Natividad Jimenez, a block from her home on 164-09 43rd Ave., police said. She was headed to a nearby hair salon in preparation for her trip home to visit her 95-year-old mother in the Dominican Republic, but was instead taken to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, where she was pronounced dead nearly an hour later."The defendant has admitted his guilt and acknowledged that he was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol when he struck and killed an elderly woman," Brown said. "The tragic case is a grim lesson why drinking and driving are a lethal mixture."Hirn, a 50-year-old self-employed roofer, was charged with driving while intoxicated after a Breathalyzer test registered a blood alcohol content of .111, exceeding the legal limit of .08, Brown said, citing the criminal complaint. Hirn was arraigned in July in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens before Judge Joel Blumenfeld, who initially ordered him held on $25,000 bail, the DA said.Jimenez, a Flushing resident known by family members as "Mama," is survived by five daughters, three sons, 18 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.Born on Christmas and named after the holiday, Jimenez emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1975, and though she was from the old country she was always understanding of younger relatives.She was preparing to visit her 95-year-old mother in the Dominican Republic when the accident occurred.After hitting Jimenez, Hirn stopped his truck and was later arrested at the scene, police said. Officers found 10 12-ounce beer bottles -- eight of them empty, two of them unopened - and an empty 750-mililiter bottle of Scotch whisky, the DA said. Hirn told the officers he had drunk a couple of beers, Brown said, although it was unclear when the roofer consumed them.The Fresh Meadows man was previously convicted of driving drunk twice in 1996, once in Ulster County and once in Sullivan County in upstate New York, Brown said.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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