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NYPD Crash Investigations

Police Nab One Half of Hit-and-Run Duo Who Killed Pedestrian in Queens Last Year

Cops cuffed a hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a 68-year-old pedestrian in Queens late last year. The second driver who hit the victim before also fleeing the scene is still on the loose.

4:51 PM EST on January 11, 2024

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This is where the pedestrian was struck twice.

One of two hit-and-run drivers who hit and killed a pedestrian on a notorious eastern Queens street roadway last month has been arrested, NYPD said — but cops have yet to find the second who left the man dead in the middle of the street. 

Police cuffed Long Island resident Osman Zavala-Varela, 36, for fleeing the scene after fatally striking 68-year-old Gary Charlotin on Hempstead Avenue near 223 Street on Dec. 10.

Police also charged Zavala-Varela with failure to obey a traffic signal, according to the NYPD.

A second driver — who remains unidentified — behind the wheel of a light colored SUV then ran over Charlotin a second time before also taking off on Hempstead Avenue in Queens Village at about 8 p.m.

Charlotin was one of 99 pedestrians to be killed in traffic violence in the five boroughs last year — one of the deadliest in the Vision Zero era, despite a record-low number of pedestrian death — and one of the dozens to be hit by drivers on Hempstead Avenue in 2023. 

A whopping 118 crashes occurred on the short stretch of Hempstead Avenue west of the Cross Island Parkway last year — injuring 50 people, according to city stats. 

The collision remains under investigation, NYPD said.

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