Labor Day Speedway
A pair of Brooklyn beachgoers down for the Labor Day weekend used Rockaway Beach Boulevard as their personal raceway, creating the spectacle of a high speed chase in Rockaway Park, according to police and witness accounts.
According to court papers, the incident took place shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday. An undercover Queens narcotics officer says that while he was waiting at a red light along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, two cars, a red Honda Civic and a black Honda Civic heading eastbound from the direction of Riis Park, passed him on both sides of his van and went through the red light doing at least 60 mph. Some witnesses on the scene however, believe it was much faster, somewhere around 70 to 80 mph. The cars driven by Jimmy Veloza, 24, and Jimmy Mendez, 22, began racing each other down Rockaway Beach Boulevard in what is designated as a 30 mph zone. As the cop chased the defendants down Rockaway Beach Boulevard, police say, the two Honda Civics were weaving in and out of traffic and the corresponding bike lane, which is often flooded with neighborhood kids riding their bikes. Luckily no pedestrians or bicyclists were struck. The motorists, however, would run into some trouble at Beach 127 Street where Veloza’s black Honda Civic struck a black Mercedes driven by Rockaway resident Adam Steiner as Veloza tried to go around him. They continued to drive until they reached Beach 125 Street when cops finally pulled them over. After giving chase for about ten blocks, both defendants were apprehended by police.
To make matters worse Mendez was drag racing in the red Honda Civic with a nineyear old boy in the back seat. In total there were six passengers in the two cars. Police impounded the vehicles on the scene, forcing the passengers of the two cars to find a way home themselves.
Veloza was heard muttering to the cops, “Come on I wasn’t going that fast, only 45 or 50.”
The pair were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Monday and charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless driving, speed contest, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting and speeding. Veloza was held on $1,500 bail and Mendez was released on his own recognizance. Both are due back in court on September 17.