A 20-year-old Bayside man is accused of leading officers on a wild chase and destroying more than a dozen cars in Astoria early Sunday morning, investigators said.
Michael DeLorenzo, of 50th Avenue and 214th Street, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Monday afternoon on several charges, including reckless endangerment, driving without a license and unlawful possession of marijuana, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
DeLorenzo’s attorney, Ramon Pagan, said his client was innocent and was wrongfully arraigned.
“He wasn’t the driver. He was in the passenger seat,” he said.
Officers approached DeLorenzo after he got into a heated argument outside a home at 35th Street between Astoria Boulevard and 28th Avenue around 4 a.m., but he jumped into a white Ford Explorer and began driving in the opposite direction down the block, according to the criminal complaint.
The noise of the chase and car crashes startled the community, according to Astoria residents.
“The entire block was woken up and we could see this guy speeding through the streets,” one eyewitness said. “The cops that were chasing him were just taking their time catching up to him.”
DeLorenzo allegedly nearly hit an officer and several pedestrians who were in the way as he made an illegal left turn south onto 35th Street at a high rate of speed, according to the criminal complaint. He then ran a steady red light at two intersections and hit several cars that were in his way, the complaint said.
DeLorenzo then crashed into 13 parked cars on 35th Street right near the 114th Precinct, investigators said.
No one was seriously hurt during the chase, but signs of damage to the various vehicles, which included a banged-up Hyundai, were still visible the next day with broken glass and other debris scattered on the sidewalk, police said.
When the officers caught up to DeLorenzo, they discovered that he did not have a driver’s license with him and found several bags of marijuana in his pockets, according to the complaint. The Bayside man, who was not intoxicated during the incident according to investigators, told officers that he “was trying to get away from the fight,” the complaint said.
He was ordered held on $5,000 bail for his charges and was still in jail as of press time Tuesday afternoon, according to the DA’s office.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c