Alleged Drunk, Unlicensed Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Delivery Worker as NYPD Targets Cyclists

Gelacio Reyes was riding home from work when he was struck by Cristian Guiracocha, who was charged with DWI and tampering with an ignition interlock.

Intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where Gelacio Reyes was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike home from work. Image: Google Maps
Intersection of 43rd Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside, where Gelacio Reyes was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike home from work. Image: Google Maps

An unlicensed and allegedly drunk hit-and-run driver with a history of license revocations struck and killed a delivery cyclist riding home from work in Queens this weekend.

The crash happened in the midst of an NYPD “Vision Zero” crackdown on cyclists, which focused in part on delivery workers.

Reyes
Reyes

Gelacio Reyes, 32, was riding east on 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside at around 3 a.m. Saturday when he was struck by the driver of a Ford SUV, who was traveling south on 39th Street, police told Gothamist.

Reyes, the father of three young children, worked in Manhattan and lived in Corona. He was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.

Police arrested 25-year-old Cristian Guiracocha hours after the crash at a Woodside auto repair shop, where he was “texting inside the car with the keys in the ignition and the engine running,” the Daily News reported. Police found vomit on Guiracocha’s clothes, the News said.

Photos of the SUV show extensive damage to the windshield, front fender, and front bumper on the passenger side.

Guiracocha was charged with felony drunk driving, felony aggravated unlicensed operation, and circumventing an ignition interlock device, a misdemeanor, according to court records. Anonymous sources who spoke with the News and other press outlets expected the charges against Guiracocha to be upgraded, possibly to manslaughter.

Because of state laws that serve to incentivize fleeing the scene, had police not found Guiracocha soon after the crash, it’s likely he would have avoided charges for taking Reyes’s life.

The News reported that Guiracocha’s license has been revoked at least two times, most recently in 2014.

A 2015 report from State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that just 5 percent of New York City drivers who are legally required to install an ignition interlock device actually use them.

Gelacio Reyes was killed in the 108th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Jimmy Van Bramer.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Awful tragedy and potentially avoidable if the legal system checked that required interlocks are installed and functional. I missed that earlier article and that 5% number totally blew my mind. If you had asked me to guess I would have thought 95%, which is what it should be.

  • AMH

    Incredible–this is the kind of thing VZ should be targeting instead of innocuous law-bending.

  • I have ridden thru that intersection in both directions 100s of times. It just frightens the hell out of you that any day, that could be it. Very sorry for Mr. Reyes family we need more police enforcement. Otherwise this will continue.

  • Vooch

    the poor car – can’t anyone imagine the trauma the car is going through

    /s

  • notsurprised

    this is the second light after the 39th st bridge, where drivers accelerate to highway speeds and there is never any speeding enforcement by the 108th.

  • ina ten

    NYPD targeting ebikes while I see motorists running lights, cutting off pedestrians , smell diesel engines idling long over the limit, every day. This policy is bullying, pollution-promoting and prejudiced. It’s just more work to ticket a motorist, and they have more money on average. Shameful.

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