A Brooklyn man was arrested and charged yesterday for the death of Matthew von Ohlen, who was killed last summer as he rode his bike on Grand Street in Williamsburg by a motorist who left the scene.
Prosecutors say that in the early morning hours of July 2, 56-year-old Juan Maldonado ran a red light, swerved into the bike lane, and crashed into von Ohlen on Grand near Graham Avenue, dragging him 10 to 20 feet before driving away, according to the Village Voice.
Von Ohlen, 35, was a co-founder of Bikestock, which operates bike repair vending machines. He was reportedly headed home to Ridgewood after a bartending shift in Manhattan when he was killed.
Investigators located the vehicle, a black Chevrolet Camaro, a few days after the crash, but NYPD said nothing else publicly about the case until yesterday. Police told Gothamist DNA evidence “has linked both von Ohlen and Maldonado to the Camaro.”
“A young man who was an active member of Brooklyn’s biking community lost his life because a speeding driver struck him in a designated bike lane and sped away,” said acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a statement. “This was not an accident, but rather a reckless act for which we intend to hold this defendant accountable.”
Maldonado was charged with assault, manslaughter, leaving the scene, and weapons possession — all felonies — as well as speeding, reckless driving, careless driving, and violating the victim’s right of way, according to court records. The top charge, assault in the first degree, is a class B felony with penalties ranging from five to 25 years in prison.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, police said video evidence seemed to indicate the driver struck von Ohlen intentionally. The assault charge may suggest prosecutors will argue Maldonado acted with intent.
DNAinfo reported that on the day before von Ohlen was killed, Maldonado was fired from his job as a truck driver for a lumber company, in part because he repeatedly came to work intoxicated.