Monday, February 2, 2009

Tragedy in Middle Village

A joy ride in a stolen car turned deadly Sunday in Queens when a drunken driver struck and killed a teenager and a young man walking together, police said.The two had been coming from a birthday party in Middle Village, said the parents of Robert Ogle, 16, who died at the scene. Alex Paul, 20, of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, died hours later at Elmhurst Hospital.

"You can't even have imagined this," said Robert's father, Brendan Ogle, from his Middle Village home with his wife, Mei, as they struggled to cope with the loss of his eldest child. "This is the worst thing we have ever dealt with."According to his parents, Robert, a junior at Brooklyn Tech High School, left around 7 p.m. to see a movie and then go to a friend's birthday party a few blocks from his home.

It was unclear if Ogle and Paul knew each other, but according to police they left the party around 1:15 a.m. and had walked a half block to the intersection of Eliot Avenue and 80th Street.

There, police said, a silver, four-door sedan driven by Kenneth Guyear, 27, of Queens, ran them over.Authorities said Guyear stole the car while it was idling outside a deli at Woodhaven Boulevard and Alderton Street. After the crash, police said he tried to flee the scene, but was arrested after a police search about a half-mile from the crash site near the deli.

After attending a party on Long Island, Guyear had gone to his brother's house in Queens. While walking, he came upon the running car outside the deli, authorities said.

Guyear had a blood-alcohol level of .126, well above the legal limit of .08. He is charged with assault, two counts of first-degree vehicular manslaughter, two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, driving while intoxicated, criminally negligent homicide, grand larceny and driving without a license.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Queens Criminal Court.At the home where the Middle Village party was held, a woman who would not give her name said she had just returned from vacation. She said her son had celebrated his birthday over the weekend. But she said she was shocked to learn of the party and the accident.Paul's landlord, Brigme Balkissoon, said in the two months he lived in her building, she remembers him working at a nearby Popeye's chicken eatery and would often see him with his girlfriend."He was a good kid," Balkissoon said. "He never bothered anybody."Sitting around the dining room table at their modest home, Ogle's parents and younger brother, Sean, 15, described a young man who worked part-time at New York Hall of Science, a hands-on science museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

In school, he was a good student who had immersed himself in extracurricular activities, including the student debating society, and had aspirations of being a journalist, Brendan Ogle said."He was always a leader," he said. "He was very talented and that talent kept growing and growing as he got older."For the Super Bowl last night, his parents had rented a big-screen TV for Robert and his friends to watch the game.

"He was a big-time Mets fan and loved all sports," Brendan Ogle said.Sunday night, the flat screen television sat in the basement, turned off.Pervaiz Shallwani contributed to this story.


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