A Queens man who punched an Army veteran, knocking him into the path of an oncoming vehicle, could spend at least 25 years in prison after being charged with second-degree murder.
The deadly chain of events began about 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 when a black Infiniti sedan carrying victim Hassan Jones, 28, bumped into a gray Nissan Murano SUV on the Grand Central Parkway.
After the fender bender, both vehicles pulled onto the side of the parkway, where Jones and the driver of the Murano, who did not own the vehicle, exchanged insurance information and went their separate ways.
The unidentified driver of the Murano called his friend and the SUV’s owner, Yomar Moran, 20, who ordered him to follow Jones’ vehicle, according to court documents.
Moran, driving a blue Honda Accord, and the SUV driver found Jones further down the highway near 49th Ave. in Corona, Queens. Moran cut off Jones’ Infiniti, forcing him to stop on the shoulder. Moran jumped out of the Honda and ran over to the Infiniti with a screwdriver in his hand, demanding the driver’s money, court records show.
Jones got out of his car and approached Moran, who punched him in the face. With Jones unconscious on the road, Moran took the victim’s gold chain and belt clip, cops said.
Moran and his friend then sped off — just moments before an Acura driving by struck Jones, dragging him more than 300 feet. The driver of the Acura, Starlyn Colon-Burgess, 19, of Queens, slam-med into another vehicle on the highway, then ditched his car and ran off, officials said. Cops caught up to Colon-Burgess and charged him with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Jones, who served tours in Kuwait and Iraq, died at the scene.
Police busted Moran four days after the fatal crash, charging him with murder, manslaughter, robbery, and criminal possession of a weapon. A judge ordered the warehouse worker held on $500,000 bail.
Moran’s stepfather lashed out against the murder charges. “I know it’s his fault, but it’s not like he went out to kill somebody,” said the stepdad, who declined to give his name.