Corona Man Sentenced for Whitestone Hit-and-Run

 A 2009 Chevy van, the type of car driven by Carmine Minichino. Photo by IFCAR.

A 2009 Chevy van, the type of car driven by Carmine Minichino. Photo by IFCAR.

By David Brand

A Corona man was sentenced to two and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to driving drunk, crashing into a Whitestone senior and speeding away on Thanksgiving Day last year.

Carmine Minichino, 53, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting/serious physical injury, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failing to stop for a stop sign Justice Suzanne Melendez in June.

“Driving isn’t just a privilege, it’s a responsibility and those who get behind the wheel of a car are entrusted to obey posted traffic signs and to be sober at all times,” said Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “The defendant will now be incarcerated as a result of his actions.”

Minichino was driving a 2009 white Chevy van in Whitestone, Queens, at about 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2017 — Thanksgiving — and drove through a stop sign. He collided with victim Paul Sim, 71, and left the scene on foot, according to the criminal complaint.

The crash catapulted Sim several feet from the site of impact. He suffered a compound fracture to his right leg and bleeding on the brain.

When Minichino returned to pick up his van, police smelled alcohol on his breath and observed his bloodshot eyes, according to court documents.

A breathalyzer exam revealed that Minichino had a .152 percent blood alcohol level.

According to the World Health Organization, on average 100 people are killed in traffic accidents daily. Nov. 18 was the 23rd anniversary of The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The day, this is the third Sunday of every November, is where family members and friends of those lost, advocates, government and elected officials and others plan to rally, hold vigils, give sermons, lead marches, and mass bicycle rides to call attention to the millions of lives lost and to demand stepped-up action to prevent these tragedies, according to the Vision Zero Network’s website.