Today’s news:

Astoria man pleads guilty to driving drunk on sidewalk

A 36−year−old Astoria man has pleaded guilty to drunk driving after he drove his vehicle onto the sidewalk and in the courtyard at Astoria Houses in December, the Queens district attorney said.

Richard Trialonas, of 32−17 37th Ave. in Astoria, admitted last week to driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Pauline Mullings is expected to sentence Trialonas to one to three years in prison when he returns to court March 30, the DA said.

“Drinking and driving is a deadly combination, one that has the potential of turning a vehicle into a lethal weapon,” Brown said. “In this case, the defendant recklessly drove through the courtyard and on the sidewalks of a housing development. Luckily, none of the residents who normally use these common areas were struck or injured.”

Around 8:20 p.m. on Dec. 1, the defendant was spotted by a police officer as he drove his black Mitsubishi on the sidewalk through a courtyard of Astoria Houses, located along Astoria Boulevard near Fourth Street, at a high rate of speed, Brown said.

Trialonas attempted to avoid the police by driving back onto the street and running a red light, the DA said. A police officer who approached the vehicle noted that the defendant had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, Brown said.

The defendant admitted to police that he had been drinking beer, the DA said. Police records show that Trialonas had been driving without a license and had two prior convictions for driving under the influence in Suffolk County, he said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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