Police charge man in Sunnyside hit-and-run

Police tape is tied to fencing at the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Place, where police said a bicyclist was struck and killed. Photo by Christina Santucci
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After crashing his car into a building, a Sunnyside man has been arrested in relation to a hit-and-run accident that left a bicyclist dead Wednesday evening, police said.

Alex Batista, 25, of Van Dam and 35th streets, was allegedly drunk when police found him lying on the ground at 11 p.m. next to a black Infinity that hit a building at 58-16 Laurel Hill Blvd., a business complex in Woodside, police said. After an investigation, the NYPD charged him in connection with the death and said the Infinity was the car in the accident, police said.

Batista has been charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, leaving an accident resulting in death, driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said.

Sunnyside resident Roger Hernandez, 37, had been biking eastbound on Greenpoint Avenue when a dark car, also going eastbound, struck him around 39th Place, then fled the scene, police said. Hernandez lived at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and Hunters Point Avenue, the NYPD said, two blocks from where he was hit.

Neighbor David Ceballos, 27, said he heard the crash and came down from his apartment to see Hernandez lying in the street.

“It was a loud noise,” Ceballos said. “I thought it was just a regular accident.”

NYPD received the 911 call for the collision at around 10:45 p.m., police said. Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the NYPD.

Another resident, 20-year-old Shantanu Roy, said he saw a black car with a crack in the windshield and loud rap music playing at Greenpoint Avenue and 42nd Street near the Orchard Farmers Market around the time of the crash.

“He was trying to blow the light but he couldn’t because there were cars on both sides,” Roy said.

Roy said other cars on the south side of Greenpoint Avenue between 39th Street and 39th Place had been damaged before the bicyclist was killed, including a taxi cab belonging to one of his relatives.

Pieces of debris, including two sideview mirrors, could be seen scattered along Greenpoint Avenue and a white Jeep had blood spots all over it Thursday morning.

The hit-and-run shocked residents, who said despite the intersection’s close proximity to a Long Island Expressway and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway entrance/exit, the street seemed mostly safe.

Sunnyside resident Martha Diaz, 59, said her son cycles on the avenue often.

“My son every day rides to Brooklyn,” she said. “That’s sad.”

Roy said while he has seen fights happen on the street, he never saw speeding or a hit-and-run.

“I was really horrified,” he said. “ ... Now I feel scared to ride my bike.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 12:18 pm, July 20, 2012
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Reader feedback

KC from Maspeth says:
RIP Roger, My good friend, I hope you have eternal happiness!!! I miss you already buddy....
July 19, 2012, 11:41 pm

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