• September 16, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Hit-and-run death sparks a protest

Accused driver out on bail as civic groups work to slow up speeders

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 10:30 am

At the spot on Woodhaven Boulevard where a Dunkin’ Donuts worker was struck and killed by a car police said was travelling at 92 mph, an unusual midnight march is being organized to persuade drivers to slow down.

David Garcia, 26, of Woodhaven, who was arrested in the hit-and-run death of Sivananaintha Perumal, 54, during the early morning hours of July 25, was free on $100,000 bail this week.

Prosecutors have charged him with vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving.

After a court appearance Tuesday, Garcia’s lawyer, Todd Greenburg, called his client “a decent young man” and said he was preparing to “work it out as soon as possible” to resolve the case.

“On behalf of Mr. Garcia and his family, I wanted to express their extreme remorse and deepest sympathy to the deceased man’s family,” he said.

The 2019 BMW registered in Connecticut that police say Garcia was driving belonged to a friend, according to the lawyer.

Police say they have surveillance video of the crash that killed Perumal, an Indian immigrant living in Richmond Hill and a well-known figure at the doughnut store in Howard Beach, where he’d worked for more than 10 years.

Garcia is due back in court next month.

Perumal’s death was the latest in a number of fatalities on Woodhaven Boulevard, one of the major north-south roads in central Queens.

Meanwhile, Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society Executive Director Ed Wendell, a longtime proponent for stricter traffic enforcement on the boulevard, began this week to organize an unusual protest.

Starting Friday at 11 p.m., members of his group plan to carry signs to Woodhaven and 91st Avenue, site of the hit-and-run, urging drivers to slow down.

“We’re going to wait until the cars stop at the light and walk out into the crosswalk with our signs,” he told the Chronicle.

“We want to spell out, in a simple message, that a man was killed right here by a car going 92 mph.

“We think sending that message to drivers will really help.”

The group decided to stage the protest late at night “because that seems to be when the accidents happen,” he said.

“Those are the drivers we need to target. It’s a message we think will help: This kind of thing is preventable. ”

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