2004-08-13 / Front Page

Driver Injures Mother, Kids, Then Leaves

A mother and her two daughters were seriously injured in Breezy Point last Wednesday night when a hit-and-run driver from Manhattan struck them after he allegedly blew a red light, according to court records.

Colleen Britton and her daughters, Sionain and Cailin Kless were hospitalized after Michael T. O’Brien hit them at the intersection of Rockaway Point Boulevard and Bedford Avenue. An eyewitness told police the 21-year-old O’Brien, who was driving a red 1994 Acura, sped through a red light and hit the three victims. He didn’t stop or slow down, according to the eyewitness.

The victims were all taken to Jamaica Hospital. Cailin suffered a fractured arm, abdominal trauma and internal bleeding, which required surgery. Sionain received cuts and bruises on her legs and Britton’s foot was fractured in the incident. The ages and addresses of the victims were not available at press time.

An earlier story on the accident in an area daily paper reported that there was just one person injured.

Police found O’Brien and his vehicle just a few blocks from the scene of the accident. He told officers that he was speeding to make it through the intersection with a yellow light and admitted he knew he struck something but continued driving anyway.

O’Brien, of 524 East 20 Street, Manhattan, is charged with seven counts of assault, first degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident -- a felony, reckless driving, running a red light and traveling at an unsafe speed. Queens Criminal Court Judge Leonora Gerald released O’Brien on his own recognizance at his arraignment last Thursday. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all of the charges, according to Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

O’Brien, who could not be reached for comment, is due back in Queens Criminal Courthouse on August 19.


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