Teen Charged in Forest Hills Wreck, Man Killed on LIE in Maspeth
by Conor Greene
In a deadly 24-hour period for Queens drivers, fatal accidents in Forest Hills and Maspeth claimed three lives in two separate incidents. An unlicensed teenage driver who admitted he was high on marijuana has been arrested in connection with one of the wrecks.
Teen Runs Red Light on Service Road
The carnage began Tuesday morning, when a 17-year-old Forest Hills resident sped through a red light along the Grand Central Parkway service road and slammed into another car, instantly killing a married couple, according to police.
Jacob Chubashvili, 17, slowed as he was approaching the red 5:40 a.m. He then stepped on the gas of the Mercedes-Benz he was driving and swerved around an SUV stopped at the light before colliding with a 2004 Acura. Police said he was going 60 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone and later admitted to having smoked marijuana before getting behind the wheel. The collision pushed the Acura into a light pole, which split apart the car.
A Kew Gardens couple, Ki Kim, 55, and his wife, Hyekyung Kim, 53, were killed instantly. Later that day, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that Chubashvili has been charged with two counts of manslaughter, unauthorized use of a vehicle, driving without a license, speeding and running a red light.
The teen provided police with a blood sample at the accident scene before being taken to a local hospital with neck and back pain, and the charges could be upgraded based on the results of the blood test. Chubashvili, of 108-50 62nd Drive, has a previous arrest record for robbery and fare evasion, according to reports. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the charges stemming from Tuesday’s accident.
Hyekyung Kim was a supervisor at the city Administration for Children’s Services and the couple was on their way to work at the time of the wreck, according to reports. “This case will be vigorously prosecuted and should serve as a warning to those who would flout our traffic regulations and put others in danger,” said Brown in a statement.
Minor Fender Bender Leads to Fatal Accident
Less than 24 hours later, a 61-year-old man who exited his car following a minor accident on the Long Island Expressway was struck and killed by a tractor trailer, according to police.
The man, whose name has been withheld pending notification of his family, got in a minor fender bender involving several vehicles at about 3 a.m. near the 69th Street exit in Maspeth, said police. After exchanging information with the other driver, the man pulled into traffic in front of a tractor-trailer, which was unable to stop before slamming into the car.
As of Wednesday morning, police were attempting to reach the man’s next of kin, who they say live in the area. Reports that an ambulance carrying two EMS workers was also involved in the accident were not able to be immediately confirmed.
Note: The online version of this story has been updated.