Thursday, February 26, 2009

Woodhaven Man Charged with DWI Outside Astoria Nightclub

Seven Run Down While Standing on Astoria Sidewalk

A 24-year-old Woodhaven man has been charged with running down seven people outside an Astoria nightclub while driving drunk, according to authorities.

Renis Kuci, of 83-25 98th Street in Woodhaven was arraigned on Monday morning in Queens Criminal Court on charges of second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree vehicular assault, reckless assault, DWI and speeding. He was released on $5,000 bail and faces up to seven years if convicted on all charges.

Authorities said Kuci was driving his black BMW at more than 70 miles per hour while drunk when he lost control near the intersection of Steinway Street and Northern Boulevard, in front of El Noa Noa nightclub, at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. While attempting to make a turn, Kuci spun the vehicle in a circle and drove it onto the sidewalk, striking seven pedestrians.

The victims ranged in age from 20 to 34 years old, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, and suffered injuries including a broken leg, cuts and bruises and swelling. Following his arrest, Kuci told officers from the 114th Precinct that he had “a few drinks” and refused to take a breathalyzer test, said Brown.

“This defendant’s alleged choice to drive after admittedly drinking alcohol turned his vehicle into a dangerous weapon,” said Brown. “Seven innocent people were injured and are lucky to be alive. This case will be vigorously prosecuted.”

Kuci had recently been laid off from his job with an air conditioning company, according to his mother, who told the New York Post that her son “isn’t one to drink.”

Witness Rezaul Rabby, 21, described the vehicle as traveling as fast as 90 miles per hour in the 30-mile-per-hour zone. “[People] were under the car, and all I could see were legs and hands,” he told the paper. “It was, like, torture.”

Witnesses said a handcuffed Kuci kissed his girlfriend and told police, “I don’t know what I did” before he was led from the scene, according to the Daily News.

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