Queens District Attorney Richard Brown agreed to drop felony charges against an unlicensed and allegedly impaired driver who ran over a senior and tried to flee the scene. Brown allowed the motorist to plead to a misdemeanor.
On October 21, 2014, William Stafford “plowed his 2005 BMW into an 89-year-old man” at the intersection of 25th Avenue and 44th Street in Astoria, the Daily News reported.
He stopped and tried to drive away, but horrified witnesses said they stopped him from speeding off.
“It’s like the whole neighborhood got together and followed him,” witness Lili Skorpanic, 54, said.
At least three motorists held him for police, who took him into custody without incident.
The senior, known in the neighborhood as Benny, was bleeding from the ears.
NYPD recorded the incident as an injury crash in the department’s October collision data report.
According to the Daily News, “Stafford was arrested two times before, once for driving on a suspended license in 2008 and once for drunk driving in 2009.” After the October crash, Brown charged Stafford with felony assault, felony leaving the scene, operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation, and other offenses, according to court records.
But on Monday, Stafford pled guilty to one count of misdemeanor leaving the scene, court records say. The felony assault charge was dismissed. For hitting an 89-year-old man with a car and attempting to flee the scene, Stafford faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail. The sentence will likely be lighter.
Brown has a long history of failing to impose serious consequences on motorists who injure, maim, and kill people. Brown filed no charges against a man who drove onto a sidewalk and ran down five children outside a school in Maspeth. When a motorist ran over 3-year-old Allison Liao in a Flushing crosswalk, Brown’s office defended him and wrote off the crash as an “accident.”
William Stafford is scheduled to be sentenced in June. Richard Brown is up for reelection later this year.