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A young man was seriously injured early Saturday morning in Bayside after a Flushing teen allegedly ran him down with his car following a dispute, sending him flying through the air and leaving him in a medically induced coma, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
The teens were part of a party that had rented a bus that returned to the Bayside High School parking lot after a night of celebrating, police said. Two groups of teens in the party bus became involved in a dispute, police said.
When the bus stopped and the teens got off, the situation escalated.
Three young men jumped into a blue 2001 Honda Civic allegedly driven by Anthony Vega, 19, who is accused of using the vehicle to try to run over members of the other group, police said.
Vega, of 43−37 165th St., was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, menacing, reckless driving and leaving the scene without reporting an accident, according to the Queens district attorney. He was arraigned Sunday in Queens Criminal Court, where bail was set at $250,000, the DA said.
After getting in the car, Vega started to drive off, but made a U−turn and drove on the wrong side of the road and up on the sidewalk in his efforts to mow down the other group, according to the criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office. The crowd of teens dove out of the way as the car raced past, the complaint said.
Vega then drove to the end of the block and again turned around, speeding toward the crowd and striking 19−year−old Dimitri Arvanitogiannis, who was sent flying by the impact, the complaint said. The Civic then sped away from the scene, the DA said.
The victim suffered a fractured skull and a lacerated liver, the DA’s office said. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma, police said.
A hospital spokeswoman said Monday that Arvanitogiannis’ condition had been upgraded from critical to serious. She could not give further details.
Vega and his passengers turned themselves in to the 111th Precinct Saturday, police said. The Civic used in the assault was found at Vega’s home, police said.
Vega’s next court date is Dec. 1. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison, the DA’s office said.
Arvanitogiannis’ friends on the social networking site Facebook expressed their support for him with messages like “common [sic] Dimz get better,” using an abbreviated form of Arvanitogiannis’ first name.
Principal Michael Athy of Bayside High School said none of the teens or young adults involved in the incident were students at his school, noting those involved likely used the location because of its parking lot. The crowd appeared to include young people from many parts of the borough, based on their Facebook profiles.
“I was here until about 7:30 or so Friday [night],” he said. “There was a bit of a commotion outside and then it got silent all at once. That might have been the kids getting on the bus. When I left, the whole side where O’Connor Park was, there was kind of a whole line of cars there. That was the end of it as far as I knew.”
Athy said he had never heard of underage students renting a bus to go party.
“That’s new and different,” he said. “Let’s hope this trend doesn’t catch on.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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