Today’s news:

DWI injures 7 outside nightclub in Astoria: DA

A 24−year−old Woodhaven man was charged with assault after he allegedly drove drunk and crashed into a crowd of seven pedestrians outside an Astoria nightclub last weekend, injuring all of them, the Queens district attorney said.

Renis Kuci, of 83−25 98th St. in Woodhaven, was arraigned Monday morning before Queens Criminal Court Judge Deborah Stevens on charges of assault, reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, reckless driving, speeding and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, DA Richard Brown said.

“This defendant’s alleged choice to drive after admittedly drinking alcohol turned his vehicle into a dangerous weapon,” the DA said. “Seven innocent people were injured and lucky to be alive.”

The defendant was released on $5,000 bail and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted, Brown said.

Kuci was allegedly driving his black BMW at a speed rate higher than 70 miles per hour around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and attempted to make a turn when the vehicle spun out of control and went onto a sidewalk at the corner of Steinway Street and Northern Boulevard in Astoria, according to the criminal complaint.

The defendant’s car allegedly struck seven pedestrians, a mixture of men and women, as they stood outside nightclub El Noa Noa, Brown said. The victims, who ranged in age from 20 to 34 years, sustained a variety of injuries, including a broken leg, cuts, bruises and swelling, the DA said.

No one was killed in the crash, he said.

Kuci allegedly told police he had “a few drinks,” but refused to take a Breathalyzer test, Brown said. The defendant was arrested at the scene, he said.

A spokeswoman for the DA’s office said Kuci will return to court March 9.

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

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