FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Hit-and-Run Driver Indicted for Recklessly
Killing Cyclist in Williamsburg
Driver Swerved Into Designated Bike Lane
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 56-year-old man has been indicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and related counts stemming from the July 2016 hit-and-run death of 35-year-old Queens cyclist and advocate Matthew von Ohlen.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “A young man who was an active member of Brooklyn’s biking community lost his life because a speeding driver struck him in a designated bike lane and sped away. This was not an accident, but rather a reckless act for which we intend to hold this defendant accountable.”
Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director said, “After waiting several months since Matthew von Ohlen was struck and killed in a heinous hit-and-run, we are relieved to see that the case is proceeding to the next step with this indictment. It is also a positive sign that the District Attorney’s office is addressing the role of speeding, which remains the leading cause of traffic deaths across the five boroughs two years after the City adopted a safer 25 mph speed limit. The driver’s deadly violation of Matthew von Ohlen’s right of way in a designated bike lane is also indicative of a problem that is all too common and can no longer be tolerated.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Juan Maldonado, 56, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Foley on an eight-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. If convicted of the top count, he faces up to 15 years in prison. Bail was set at $100,000.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on July 2, 2016, at approximately 2:37 a.m., the defendant was behind the wheel of a black Chevy Camaro and allegedly driving at a high rate of speed in the vicinity of Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The defendant, it is alleged, swerved into a designated bike lane on Grand Street where the victim was riding his bike, sped through a red light at an intersection and then struck the victim. According to the investigation, the defendant hit the victim’s bicycle from behind causing the victim to fall. The defendant continued driving, running over the victim and dragging him approximately 10 to 20 feet as he sped away. Part of the incident was captured on surveillance video.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Edward Behringer of the Collision Investigation Squad, under the supervision of Squad Supervisor Sergeant Alessio Bono of the Collision Investigation Squad, and the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Brian Reynolds Commanding of the Collision Investigation Squad.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Douglas Marquez of the District Attorney’s Trial Bureau III, Grey Zone, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nocella, Deputy Bureau Chief, Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough, Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Esswein, Deputy Unit Chief of the District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.