Search is on for hit-and-run driver in Woodhaven
Dec 28, 2011 | 4359 views | 1 1 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association is hoping that someone can help identify the driver of a Black SUV who hit a Woodhaven resident and sped away on Friday, December 16, at approximately 1:15 p.m.

The incident took place at 87th Street and the south-side of Jamaica Avenue as the woman was crossing to go into Joseph's Pharmacy. The vehicle was driving east, toward the direction of Woodhaven Boulevard, and it appeared that the driver was aware that he had struck someone.

"He pulled over about a block away, across from the Kentucky Fried Chicken, and got out," the victim said. "A woman standing nearby waved at him to come back. He saw me on the ground, but he jumped back in his vehicle and drove away."

She was taken to Jamaica Hospital where it was revealed that she had serious damage to the tendons in her foot. "The damage is so severe that the doctor says that I may never walk normally again," she said.

The accident has Woodhaven residents concerned.

"It's a shame that, at this time of year, this woman was hurt by an uncaring driver who fled from the scene," said Maria Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District. "It's sad to think that some people don't have any feelings of responsibility to their fellow man."

Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA, said that the accident serves as a reminder of how dangerous any street can be.

"There are drivers out there that do not respect the fact that this is a residential area and there are a lot of pedestrians, young and old,” he said. “They are impatient, and they drive too fast."

There have been a few serious hit-and-run incidents on Jamaica Avenue over the past few years. In April of 2009, 71-year-old Virginia Montalvo was struck and killed at 98th Street and Jamaica Avenue as she was crossing the street to cash in bottles and cans she had collected. The driver of the dark cargo van that killed Montalvo was never apprehended.

Just a few weeks later, on April 18, 42-year old You Yuan Zhou, a deliveryman for Woodhaven’s China House Restaurant, was riding his scooter on 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue when he was struck by a car driven by Gus Pappaeliou, 27, of 76th Street.

Zhou was killed instantly. Pappaeliou dragged the scooter for a full block and stopped his vehicle only to dislodge the scooter before taking flight. The impact cracked open the radiator on Pappaeliou's car, leaving a tell-tale trail of radiator fluid, which led police directly to his door. He was promptly arrested.

And a dark colored SUV struck and critically injured a 45-year-old man at 85th Street and Jamaica Avenue in September 2010. That driver, too, was never apprehended.

Those incidents took place at night and the WRBA is hoping that since this recent accident occurred during the day, there is a greater chance that someone witnessed what happened and can pass along information that will lead to the arrest of the driver.

Investigators are also looking over recordings recently retrieved from two security cameras from a local business. Another business has volunteered to go through their recordings to see if a plate number can be identified.

The WRBA hopes that other businesses along Jamaica Avenue will look through their recordings to see if they can spot a Black SUV driving past their business between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. on the 16th.

Investigators say that even a partial plate number would be very useful in helping to identify the driver of the vehicle.

"Statistically, most accidents happen very close to home. There's a good chance this driver lives nearby and may read this article," Wendell said. "We hope he'll read this and understand that it's better for all concerned, especially him, if he were to come forward and accept responsibility."

Anyone with information about this incident should contact the 102nd Precinct at 718-805-3200. They can also reach the WRBA at 718-296-3735 or via e-mail at

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A Pedestrian
December 31, 2011
I am worried about this.It is not the first time and is not the last time it will happen, like before with death of deliveryman and other accidents.

The deliverymen are too chaotic in their movements on machines that are not even legal and the younger drivers love to go too fast. It is a dangerous combination.

Someone please follow up with what happened to Gus Pappaeliou, the driver of car in death of deliveryman. I find no newspaper stories about his case.