Teen faces manslaughter charges in crash

August 5, 2008 6:51:18 PM PDT
Police have arrested the 17-year-old driver in the crash that killed a Queens couple Tuesday morning. The victims' Acura collided with a Mercedes Benz in the front yard of the home at the Grand Central Parkway service road at 69th Road.

The victims, 55-year-old Ki Kim and 52-year-old Hyekyung Kim of Kew Gardens, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The 17-year-old driver of Mercedes Benz was taken into custody at the hospital. The Forest Hills teen could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of charges including manslaughter, unauthorized use of a vehicle and driving without a license.

Prosecutors say the teenager had been smoking marijuana before he drove around a stopped car and through the red light, going twice the legal limit of 30 mph.

The teenager's mother says she hasn't spoken to him since the incident and doesn't know what happened.

Neighbors came out of their homes outraged when they heard about the accident. Outraged, but not surprised.

The Acura was sliced in half when a collision with a Mercedes sent it barreling into a guard rail support. Car parts littered Sergei Petkhov's front yard.

"Basically it's like a war zone here," he said. "This intersection... people just lost their lives for nothing."

One after the other, neighbors told us that the intersection of Grand Central Parkway service road and 69th Road is a place of constant carnage.

"Accidents every week, sometimes several times a day," Petkhov said.

The problem, neighbors told Eyewitness News, is two-fold. Foliage blocks drivers' visibility and cars coming right off the highway don't shake their appetite for speed soon enough. They try to make a light without being able to see what's coming at them.

"We feel strongly. Take the shrubbery down and save accidents from happening," Ari Rendel said.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick and Bob Monek

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