Sunnyside biker killed in hit-run

Crime scene tape lies on the ground following a hit-and-run crash on Greenpoint Avenue in which Sunnyside resident Roger Hernandez died. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A Long Island City man was arraigned on manslaughter, DWI and drug charges Friday after he allegedly hit a bicyclist in Sunnyside and drove away for 10 blocks until he plowed into a building, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Alex Batista, 25, of Van Dam and 35th streets, had allegedly been driving drunk at high speeds at around 10:51 p.m. June 18 when he struck Sunnyside resident Roger Hernandez, 37, who was riding his bike on Greenpoint Avenue between 39th Place and 39th Street, the DA said.

Batista’s car, a 2006 black Infinity M35, struck Hernandez in the back, causing him to hit the hood of the car and the windshield before being thrown off near the intersection at 39th Place, the DA said.

Hernandez died at 10:57 p.m. due to head and body trauma, the DA said.

The collective charges could put Batista behind bars for 15 years if he is convicted, the DA said. These include manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and unlawful possession of marijuana, the DA said. He was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Michael Yavinsky, the DA said.

“This defendant’s decision to get behind the wheel of a car while allegedly intoxicated is incomprehensible and cost an innocent young man his life,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.

Police later allegedly found Batista drunk and lying on the ground at 11 p.m. next to his car, which hit a building, at 58-16 Laurel Hill Blvd., a business complex in Woodside 10 blocks from the accident, authorities said. Officers also allegedly found two bags of marijuana on Batista, the DA said.

When he was speaking with the police, Batista allegedly had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol on his person, the DA said. He acted belligerently and approached an officer in a threatening manner, which brought charges of disorderly conduct in another criminal complaint, the DA said.

Batista is being held on a $300,000 bail and his next court date is Aug. 9, the DA 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.”

Sunnyside resident Shantanu Roy, 20, said while he has seen fights happen on the street, he had never seen 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 6:26 pm, July 26, 2012
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