2008-11-14 / Front Page

Blocked Street Brings Bias Attack

By Howard Schwach

What started out as a routine beer delivery in Rockaway Park turned ugly last week when a motorist questioned the way the delivery driver was blocking Beach 87 Street.

Police say that on November 6, Douglas Vaneps, 22, of Springfield Gardens, was delivering beer to a distributor on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 86 Street and was attempting to park on Beach 87 Street, when an automobile driven by Rockaway resident Richard Edwards drove up behind him.

Edwards' wife, Monique, who was in the passenger seat, told The Wave that Vaneps was attempting to park at an angle and was blocking the narrow street.

As her husband swerved to avoid the errant truck, Edwards says, the car struck a pothole, damaging the rim.

A verbal dispute began when Edwards chided him for blocking the street and forcing them into the pothole, and quickly escalated into a racial attack on the couple, Monique Edwards told The Wave.

"He got out of the truck and said, 'Fuck you, you nigger bitch,'" she said. " 'I haven't killed a nigger since I got back from Iraq.'"

Police say that Vaneps pulled a knife from the cab of the truck and came at Monique. She pulled a tire iron, she states, from the trunk of the car to defend herself.

While he was swinging the knife at her, Edwards said, her husband hit him from behind, knocking them all down into a pile on the street.

"My husband saved my life," Edwards said. "[Vaneps] would have killed me, and he was yelling all the time about 'niggers' and 'killing people.' "

They got up and Vaneps began chasing Richard Edwards with a knife.

Vaneps saw the couple's young child in the rear of the car and jumped on the hood, Edwards said. "He really scared her badly, yelling that they were all going to jail for attacking him," she continued.

At that point, police officers, who had been called by workers in the day care center on the street, arrived and blocked off both ends of the short street.

They questioned everybody, including the eyewitnesses from the day care center, and then arrested Vaneps.

Both Vaneps and Richard Edwards suffered injuries in the melee and were transported to the Peninsula Hospital Center for treatment.

Edwards suffered lacerations to his right hand and thumb. He received 18 stitches in his thumb and two in his hand, court documents say.

Police, searching Vaneps' truck for weapons, found two knives tucked in the lockbox that is usually used to store money collected on the route.

He was arraigned on November 7, charged with assault, menacing, criminal possession of a weapon and harassment, according to a spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

He was released on his own recognizance. His next court date is set for December 16.

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