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Queens Chronicle

Coincidental crash or off-ramp error?

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Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 12:00 pm

   A woman is in critical condition and a man has been arrested after a Volkswagen came barreling into the same two stores on Crescent Street and Queens Plaza North for the second time in nine days.

   The wrecks occurred on an area of roadway that had been revamped in 2008 to improve traffic flow. Drivers say further changes were made more recently.

   The exit from the bridge was once more gradual and easily visible from the lower roadway, but now requires a sharper turn. A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation said as a result of the crashes, the agency “will be looking at this location to see if and where any adjustments can be made.”

   Wednesday morning’s collision took place at around 4 a.m., when 39-year-old Alexander Palacio of Astoria, lost control of the 2006 Jetta he was driving Queens-bound on the Queensboro Bridge outer roadway. Upon exiting the bridge, he smashed into Villa de Beaute salon and Espinal’s Carribbean Restaurant II, which had been boarded up following a March 28 wreck.

   Emergency medical personnel took Palacio to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he is in stable condition. His passenger, a 40-year-old woman, suffered severe head trauma and was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition.

   The similarities between the two crashes are uncanny — both cars were Volkswagens made one year apart, and both were traveling at around the same time of day. Both drivers were male with female passengers and both struck the same stores while traveling from the same off-ramp.

   However, in this case, Palacio has been arrested for driving with a revoked license. In the first crash, a pedestrian, Anthony Buscemi, 68, of Manhattan, was crushed to death but no charges were filed.

   The area around Queens Plaza is being redesigned as part of the multi-million dollar New York City Economic Development Corp. Queens Plaza Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project. The plan is aimed at — among other things — increasing pedestrian safety in the area.

   Drivers traveling into Manhattan during the morning rush hour said they experienced traffic delays as a result of the crash.

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