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St. Albans man charged in drag race crash

A St. Albans man who went on an alleged drag race in his friend’s car and crashed into a minivan was indicted last week on charges of seriously injuring the 60-year-old driver in the other vehicle, the Queens district attorney said.

Ashley T. Mohammed, 22, of Hollis Avenue was charged June 22 with reckless driving, assault, driving without a license and other counts in the incident that took place May 1 in Cambria Heights, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Mohammed, who was held on $50,000 bail, allegedly took his friend’s 1997 gray BMW and went racing along 121st Avenue in Cambria Heights, according to the DA.

“A vehicle weighing in excess of 2,500 pounds and traveling at speeds greater than 60 miles an hour is transformed into a dangerous missile when it is hurling down a street designed and engineered for speeds of only 25 to 35 miles an hour,” Brown said in a statement.

Mohammed was driving on the median of the street, which is not allowed, around 11 p.m. when he crashed into a blue Dodge Caravan that was traveling at an intersection at 233rd Street, the DA said. Both vehicles lost control, suffered severe damage and had their airbags deployed, according to the DA.

The driver of the minivan, Matthias Baker, 60, was taken to a hospital and operated on for various injuries, including blood on the brain, four broken ribs and two broken vertebrae, Brown said.

Baker has since been released from the hospital but needs a cane to walk and has to wear a neck brace, according to the DA. He is currently receiving outpatient care, Brown said.

If convicted of these crimes, Mohammed faces up to seven years in prison, the DA said.

His indictment came more than a week after two teens were arraigned for having a suspected drag race near St. Francis Prep High School, the DA said. Matthew Ramatuar, of 220th Street in Queens Village, and William I. Karl, of Forest Road in Little Neck, both 17, were charged June 10 with several counts, including reckless driving in the incident that took place that day.

Both teens were talking at a red light at the intersection of Horace Harding Expressway and Francis Lewis Boulevard while revving their engines, Brown said. When the light turned green, they allegedly traveled up Francis Lewis Boulevard at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, according to the DA.

Although no one was hurt in that incident, Brown said the teens risked their lives and endangered other motorists.

“While the days where neighborhoods near streets like Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside and the South Conduit in South Jamaica had to endure organized NASCAR-like noise and danger are behind us, there are still renegades of all ages who persist in engaging in high-risk behavior behind the wheel of oftentimes souped-up vehicles,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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