2009-03-04 / Front Page

Police News

Car Fumes Kill Queens Senior, 79

Car Fumes Kill Queens Senior, 79

A 79-year-old man died and his wife was hospitalized on February 28 after fumes from their idling car crept from their garage into the couple’s North Queens home.

Police said Ernest Codelia and his wife, Mary Rivera, 69, were sleeping in their bedroom when they were overcome by fumes from their 2008 Lexus sedan, which was running in an attached garage at the 141st Street home.

The couple had only owned the luxury vehicle for a short while, and they apparently forgot to turn off the vehicle’s keyless ignition when they returned home earlier on Saturday.
Investigators believe the car was left running for hours before Codelia succumbed to the fumes and his wife was sickened.

Codelia was found dead in bed by a relative at about 8:40 p.m., police said. Rivera, a former superintendent of The Bronx School District 12, was placed in a hyperbaric chamber at Jacobi Medical Center, where she is listed in stable condition.
—Liz Goff

Feds Bust Queens Pot Farming Firefighter

Federal agents last week arrested a five-year FDNY firefighter for allegedly growing more than 100 marijuana plants in the basement of a home he rented in Queens Village.

Law enforcement sources said Patrick Murray, 34, was under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration when he was taken into custody for running an illegal marijuana operation out of the house on 237th Street in Queens Village.

Sources said Murray is an alleged member of a drug ring that grew hydroponic marijuana in Queens houses and distributed the marijuana throughout the city.

Murray was arrested after police at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village received an anonymous phone tip regarding the 237th Street operation. The caller told police Murray was spotted moving hot lights used to grow marijuana out of the Queens Village house, the sources said.

Agents seized approximately 100 marijuana plants from the basement of the house. The plants had an estimated street value of more than $500,000, the sources said.

Murray, who worked out of a Queens firehouse, was arraigned on numerous drug-related charges in Brooklyn federal court and released on $250,000 bond, court records state.

Murray has been suspended without pay. He could face five to 40 years in prison, if convicted.
—Liz Goff

Worker Critical In 18-Wheeler Crash

A Queens construction worker remains hospitalized in critical condition this week after he was struck and dragged by an 18-wheeler at a Maspeth railroad crossing.

Police said the tractor-trailer driver tried to cross tracks near Laurel Hill Boulevard and Review Avenue at about 7 a.m. on February 23 when the crossing gates lowered before the truck made it across the tracks.

Courtney Young, 29, an employee of A&L Cesspool, ran to the crossing and tried to raise the gate, but was unable to lift it.

An oncoming train struck the other side of the truck, pinning Young beneath the rig and dragging him more than 75 feet, fire officials said.

When firefighters from Ladder 128 arrived at the scene, they spotted Young’s feet protruding from under the truck’s cab. The firefighters worked quickly, digging a trench under the cab and raising it with airbags to free Young. “It was just a terribly tragic accident,” fire officials said. “The truck driver is devastated over the whole incident.”
—Liz Goff


Borough-Wide Blotter


Compiled By Liz Goff
104th Precinct
Bravest Injured In Maspeth Blaze
Two Queens firefighters were hospitalized on February 24 after they fell 15 feet while fighting a four-alarm blaze at a Maspeth warehouse.
One firefighter suffered a broken arm, while the other suffered a minor head injury after falling from the warehouse at 56-95 49th Pl., fire officials said.
Fire marshals are probing the cause of the blaze and what caused the firefighters to plunge from the burning building.
Both firefighters were treated and released at Elmhurst Hospital Center. A third firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Fire officials said it took about five hours for the blaze to be brought under control.
Bloody Bar Brawl
A booze-fueled argument at a Maspeth tavern on February 22 turned bloody sending one man to a local hospital and putting three behind bars, police said.
Police said Kevin Collins, 24, of Mastic Beach, Long Island, grabbed a baton at about 3:30 a.m. and beat a 29-year-old patron outside a bar on Flushing Avenue, leaving the victim with serious facial fractures.
During the beating, Collins’ friend, Christopher Cazes, 25, drove a getaway car up and down Flushing Avenue, almost hitting a crowd of people who gathered outside the bar, police said.
With cooperation from eyewitnesses, police tracked Collins and Cazes, along with accomplice Roxanne Pittochi, 21, and charged them in the attack.
‘Juice Box’ Burglar Nabbed
A brazen, thirsty burglar found himself behind bars earlier this month after his DNA showed up on an empty juice box at the scene of his crime, police said.
Investigators identified Ramon Colon, 31, as the thief who broke into a home on Onderdonk Avenue last June, where he made off with a truckload of electronic equipment including a hard drive, a Sony PlayStation, a Sony DVD Player, DVDs and a cable box.
Investigators matched Colon’s DNA to a Tropicana Apple Juice Box he discarded at the scene. Detectives tracked Colon to his Brooklyn home and charged him with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal possession of stolen property.

110th Precinct
Tip Thief Busted
Last week police arrested a 26-year-old Corona man after he helped himself to cash and tips at two local restaurants.
Police said Jay Timothy walked into Angelo’s Pizza on 103rd Street and 39th Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. on February 20, where he swiped a tip jar containing $200.
Timothy struck again on February 23, when he stole a tip jar from another restaurant and walked away from the scene.
Cops caught up with Timothy on February 27 and charged him with multiple counts of petit larceny.
Teen Charged In Corona Robbery
Police arrested a 16-year-old Corona girl in connection with the January 15 assault and robbery of a 19-year-old local woman.
Cops said Samiyah Humphries and four female accomplices approached the victim outside 96-04 57th Ave. at about 6 p.m. on January 15. They punched the woman in the face and kicked and scratched her on the face and arms.
Police said Humphries and her accomplices swiped the victim’s necklace, earrings and bracelet and fled the scene.
Police caught up with Humphries on February 25 and charged her with assault and second-degree robbery. She faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.

115th Precinct
Heated Assault
A hot-headed 23-year-old Queens man landed behind bars on February 24 after he tossed a bowl of steaming soup in the face of a fellow diner during a dispute at a Jackson Heights restaurant, police said.
Jose Castenada got into a heated argument with the victim, an acquaintance, just after midnight, inside the Polios Mario Restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue and 86th Street. As the dispute heated up, Castenada picked up a bowl of hot soup and threw it in the face of the 36-year-old victim, police said.
Castenada was charged with assault at his arraignment at Queens Criminal Court.

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