Volume 76, Number 4 | June 14 - 20 2006

Police Blotter

Fatal cab ride
Danielle Ricco, 20, a Pace University student, was killed Sun. June 11 and three of her friends were seriously injured when the driver of the southbound cab they were riding in lost control on the West Side Highway, hit the median at Houston St. and veered into the oncoming traffic, police said.

The driver, Hassan Afzal, 20, who had only received his hack license on May 5, was also severely injured, and police are investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The four young women hailed the cab after a night out in the Gansevoort Market district. Enza Salustio, 21, was sitting in the front next to the driver, and her sister Anna, 16, their friend Amy Vallarelli, 20, and the victim were in the rear of the cab when the accident happened.

Vallarelli’s father said his daughter told him the girls had asked the driver to turn down the blasting music he was playing, but he made it louder and began speeding. The driver than slumped over the wheel, the cab scraped along the median for several yards before flipping over into the oncoming lane. The door on Ricco’s side flew open and she was hurled into the path of a cab that was swerving to avoid the crash. The cab finally crashed into the side of the St. John’s Building on the east side of the highway.

Enza Salustio was in critical condition at St. Vincent’s hospital and her sister Anna and Vallarelli were in stable condition. Afzal, of Queens, was in stable condition at St. Vincent’s with head injuries and a broken leg. His relatives said he had suffered a seizure two or three years ago.

Drag queen beaten
Kevin Aviance, 38, a well-known drag entertainer, was severely beaten at 1:30 a.m. Sat. June 10 at the corner of E. 14th St. and First Ave. after a performance at Phoenix, a gay bar at 13th St. and First Ave. Aviance was in men’s clothing and carrying a bunch of roses from well-wishers at the time of the attack.

He was released from Beth Israel hospital on Monday but his jaw will be wired for about two weeks.

Police arrested four suspects, who were charged with first-degree assault as a hate crime, according the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Gerard Johnson, 16, of 440 E. 20th St.; Jarell Sears, 20, of Newark, N.J.; Akino George, 20, of 1465 Townsend Ave., Bronx; and Gregory Archie, 18, of 346 E. 21st St., were charged in the hate crime.

Johnson, with a previous robbery arrest, and Sears, with a previous drug arrest, were being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. Johnson was identified as a member of the Bloods gang, according to the New York Post. George and Archie were to be arraigned later.

Murder indictment
A Manhattan grand jury last week indicted Stephen Sakai, 31, on second-degree murder, attempted murder and assault charges in connection with the May 23 shooting in front of a Chelsea club, Opus 22, in which one victim was killed, another permanently paralyzed and two other victims seriously injured.

Sakai, a bouncer at the club at 559 W. 22nd St. had an argument with a patron, Ian Davis, and followed him and his friends outside and began a shooting spree with an unregistered handgun, the indictment said.

Davis was shot in the groin. Julian Andres Cuadros was shot in the neck when he asked why the defendant shot Davis. Gustavo Cuadros was shot dead while he was on the ground holding his brother Julian, and Yeison Correa was shot in the back while fleeing the scene, according to the charges.

Julian Andres Cuadro was permanently paralyzed from the chest down and Correa lost a kidney and sustained other injuries, according to Morgenthau’s office.

Sakai, of 71 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, is in jail pending arraignment on July 12.

Bribery arrest
Department of Investigation agents on Mon. June 5 arrested Mao Lin for bribing a Department of Building inspector to ignore construction work at his signage business at 2 Spring St. in violation of a previous stop-work order.

The Buildings Department had issued the stop-work order in May for work contrary to the plan approved by the department. When a Buildings inspector discovered on June 2 that the work had been completed despite the order, Lin offered him an undisclosed amount of money to ignore the violation, the authorities said.

The inspector rejected the bribe and reported it, but later that day when a Department of Investigation agent attached to the Buildings Department showed up at the location on Spring St. and Bowery, Lin gave him $500 to ignore the matter. Lin, 35, was arrested three days later and charged with third-degree bribery, which is punishable on conviction by up to seven years in jail.

Houston car thefts
A man who parked his 1998 model Mercury Sable on Wooster St. at W. Houston St. on Fri. May 26 returned to the curbside spot at 11 p.m. and found it was gone, police said.

The same thing happened to a man who parked his 2005 model Nissan on Mercer St. near W. Houston St. on Thursday night and returned at 3:30 a.m. Fri. May 26.

Seat slasher
A vandal has been using a razor or box cutter to slash the seats of bicycles and motorcycles in the Village, according to Ruth Kuzub, a shop owner on W. Fourth St. near Sheridan Square. The slashings occurred on 10th and Weehawken Sts. between June 2 and June 6, Kuzub said.

Mugged in Soho
Two robbers attacked a man walking on Broadway at Howard St. at about 5 p.m. Thurs. May 25 and made off with his BlackBerry, credit cards and $400 in cash, police said. One suspect struck the victim on the arm and pushed him to the ground and the other took his possessions, police said.

Grab bag
A woman walking down Mercer St. between Broome and Grand Sts. at 5:30 a.m. Sun. June 4 was punched by a man who came from behind her, police said. The thief, described only as a black man, grabbed the victim’s bag and fled.

Albert Amateau

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