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Cops Charge Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Queens Cyclist Last Year

This is the scene of the crash that killed Darwin Durazno (inset). Photo: Google

The hit-and-run driver who killed a teen cyclist in College Point last June has finally been arrested and charged, cops said.

Christian Soriano, 27, of Corona was arrested on Feb. 9 and is now facing a top charge of manslaughter for the June 4 crash that killed cyclist Darwin Durazno, 16. Cops say Soriano, who was also charged with criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of a crash, was unlicensed when he hit Durazno, who also lived in Corona.

Initial details of the crash suggested that cops would solve the crime quickly: Police said that Durazno had been cycling southbound on hectic and frequently obstructed College Point Boulevard just north of 18th Avenue at around 9:30 p.m. when the driver of a northbound Toyota Camry swerved into the ongoing traffic lane, possibly to get around a double-parked car or truck — and slammed directly into Durazno, causing severe head trauma.

Durazno was taken to Jacobi Hospital in The Bronx, where he died three days later after his organs could be harvested. He had only moved from Ecuador three years earlier. Meanwhile, police discovered the car, a rental from Enterprise, on 15th Avenue — just one and a half blocks from the crash site. And witnesses had described the driver as a male, 20-30 years old, and even described what he was wearing when he fled on foot from the parked vehicle, cops said.

Nonetheless, it took until last week to finally charge Soriano.

The fact that the NYPD charged Soriano is itself a minor miracle. In 2020 (the last year for which there is full data), there were 39,299 hit-and-run crashes involving injuries or damage to property. Cops arrested just 351 people, or 0.8 percent of the cases. Police are better at solving hit-and-run crashes that cause serious injuries, though there are fewer of those. In 2021, there were 93 such crashes, and cops ended up making 24 arrests, or just over 25 percent of the time.

Streetsblog reached out to the NYPD and to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

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