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Tow Truck Driver Helps Cops Nab Hit-And-Run Suspect In Queens

Pedestrian, 19, Was Treated And Released From Elmhurst Hospital

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An alleged hit-and-run driver in Queens is in custody thanks to a quick-thinking good Samaritan.

The tense scene unfolded just before 10 p.m. Wednesday on Queens Boulevard and 59th Avenue.

Police said the unlicensed driver of a Nissan blew through a red light at Woodhaven Boulevard and struck a 19-year-old man while he was walking with a friend, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.

“I said ‘can you move your feet, your legs, your hands?’ He couldn’t move nothing and all of a sudden went unconscious,” said the victim’s friend Mark Campos.

At the same time, tow truck driver Cesar Paz was waiting for two NYPD officers to finish writing a report in a separate case. A different car rear-ended his tow truck at the same intersection.

He said he watched the Nissan smash into the victim and then speed off.

“He blew the light at Woodhaven Boulevard and he took off,” he said. “He hit him very hard, flipped him over the car and the kid landed on his head in the middle of the street. A very loud bang, it was unbelievable.”

Paz then immediately chased after him in his truck, working with police to corner the driver, identified as 28-year-old Rusty Janvier of Brooklyn, Jiang reported.

“We chased him down, boxed him in over here on Junction and 57th Avenue,” he said. “I blocked him with the tow truck and they arrested him.”

The 19-year-old victim was treated and released from Elmhurst Hospital.

“That boy definitely got hurt. It was a heartless thing to leave the scene after doing that to somebody,” Paz said.

Janvier faces several charges including reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident, Jiang reported.

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