Police charge Queens driver in Midwood crash that killed Park Slope cyclist

Deadly scene: Police released the 18-year-old driver who smashed his white Dodge Charger into another car, which then fatally struck 52-year-old cyclist Jose Alzorriz at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L in Midwood on Aug. 11.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Police arrested a Queens teenager Wednesday on a laundry list of charges nearly two weeks after he blew through a red light in Midwood and killed a Park Slope cyclist.

Officers cuffed 18-year-old Umar Mirza Baig on felony charges including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, assault, criminal solicitation, and reckless driving, according to police.

Cops also slapped Baig with several moving violations, including disobeying a traffic device and speeding, authorities said.

Baig was driving southbound on Coney Island Avenue behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger when he ran a red light at Avenue L and T-boned another car heading east at 12:27 p.m. on Aug. 11, according to police.

The second vehicle then violently slammed into 52-year-old Park Slope cyclist Jose Alzorriz, killing him, cops said.

Investigators quickly obtained harrowing footage showed both Baig running a red light and the other vehicle crushing Alzorriz from multiple angles, but police declined to immediately charge the Queens resident, and the decision to allow him to walk free drew condemnation from safe street advocates and local politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and local state Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

Baig was arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Justice Danny Chun at 12 p.m. on Aug. 21, when Jennifer Nocella, the prosecuting attorney for the District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office, requested a $100,000 bail in bonds or $50,000 cash bail, and that Baig hand over his United States passport because she said he could leave the country to Pakistan, where he has family.

Nocella also requested that Baig hand over his driver’s license, which has not been suspended, according to Oren Yaniv, a spokesman for the DA’s office.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Lewisohn asked Justice Chun to lower the bond and said the scene depicted in the video footage was merely a tragic accident.

“We’ve seen the footage […] and as tragic as it is, it is still an accident, no more, no less,” Lewisohn told the judge.

The defense attorney also noted that Baig had never been arrested before and that he was studying to get his General Education Development certificate in order to enroll in Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach.

Chun ultimately set the bail bond at $50,000 and $10,000 in cash bail and ordered Baig to hand over his passport, but did not ask him to surrender his driver’s license.

Baig’s father told Lewisohn in the courtroom that he would be able to provide $10,000 for the cash bail on the same day, but the defendant was not immediately released, according to the Department of Corrections website, which listed Baig as being held at the Brooklyn Detention Center on Atlantic Avenue.

Judge Chun set Baig’s next court date for Oct. 23.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260-2511, or email kduggan@schnepsmedia.com

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