A 24-year-old Queens man has turned himself in to police in the hit-and-run over the weekend that killed a 21-year-old woman leaving a popular local park, police said.
Betty Jean DiBiaso was leaving Astoria Park and crossing Ditmars Boulevard at 19th Street in Astoria at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when she was struck by a 2002 Chevy Impala, police said. She hit the driver's side windshield and fell to the ground while the Impala continued on, according to authorities.
DiBiaso sustained severe head trauma and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
According to a criminal complaint, the driver, 24-year-old Nicholas Colleran of Astoria, called 911 just over an hour after allegedly hitting DiBiaso to report his Impala had been stolen, and then filled out an theft report at a police station at about 4 a.m.
Police later found the vehicle in Astoria with a broken windshield, broken driver's side-view mirror and a damaged driver's side front mirror, prosecutors said. There also appeared to be blood and hair in the windshield.
On Sunday, Colleran turned himself in to police and admitted he'd been driving the Impala and that he lied about the car being stolen, according to prosecutors. He allegedly told police he'd had two beers before driving and he panicked and fled.
He was arrested on charges including leaving the scene, falsely reporting an incident, failure to stop at a stop sign and driving as an unlicensed operator. Colleran was awaiting arraignment at criminal court in Queens Monday. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear.
The young woman worked at the Porto Bello restaurant, where co-workers were in mourning.
"She was just so young, she had so much to offer to everybody," Cheyenne Velez said in tears.
The intersection where she was struck is a four-way stop, and there's a stop sign on each corner, but residents in the area say that doesn't stop many from speeding through.
"It's just horrible. You have these drivers, they don't take their time," said neighbor Pat Bodin.
Nick Maroudas said drivers tend to go quickly as people are walking. There's a speed a bump midway down the street, but it took three years to get even that -- and residents still need more help near the waterside park, they say.
"It's the nature of this area, people want to come here to recreate, but it's an invitation to go speeding because there's not enough to slow them down," said Anthony Mardach.
Mardach said improved signange, signals, street lighting and enforcement would make a popular area safer for everyone.