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Hit-and-Run Driver Arrested after Killing Queens Cyclist

By  Ben Fractenberg Tuan Nguyen Alan Neuhauser and Amy Zimmer | July 19, 2012 7:00am | Updated on July 19, 2012 8:12pm

QUEENS — A bicyclist, on his way to bring flowers to his girlfriend, was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident by an allegedly intoxicated driver in Sunnyside Wednesday night, according to NYPD.

Roger Hernandez, 37, was just three blocks from home, traveling east on Greenpoint Avenue at 10:45 p.m. when he was hit by a dark-colored vehicle that was also heading east, police said.

The driver fled, and Hernandez — who was carrying a bouquet, witnesses said — was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested Alex Batista, 25, of Long Island City, on Thursday night and charged him with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, leaving an accident that resulted in death, DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The flowers Hernandez carried were for his new girlfriend, said his roommate of five months, Francis De La Cruz, 30.

It was the first time De La Cruz had ever known Hernandez to bring someone flowers, he said through a translater. Hernandez used to joke that he didn't need flowers to "get a girl," De La Cruz recounted.

Edwin Amado, 57, the super of the building next door to the victim, said even though it was a new relationship, Hernandez was already planning to fly his mother in from Honduras to introduce them.

"He just left his place 20 minutes earlier," he said. "He just wanted to buy the flowers to do something nice for his girlfriend."

Amado said that Hernandez was the super of his own building and also did construction work.

"He's a very nice, very funny guy," he said. "Whenever I need something I just called and he would come over to help."

Bill Lindauer, 68, a next door neighbor agreed."He's a very friendly guy always with a smile on his face."

Blood still stained the sidewalk hours after the accident.

"All I saw was the man lying right at the corner of the intersection in the most unnatural way with one of his hands twisted to the back," Sarah Habi, 16, who lives nearby. "It was totally shocking."

Karen Godoy, 40, who was walking with two small sons, said, "It's so scary, as people usually speed...past this intersection where we have a school and a park here." 

Friends of Hernandez were still reeling from the incident.

"This guy has no heart," De La Cruz said of the driver. "If he had a heart, he could have stopped and taken him to a hospital."

Officers in Woodside spotted an intoxicated Batista at 11 p.m. on Wednesday lying next to a black Infinity that had struck a building at 58-16 Laurel Hill Blvd. 

An investigation by the New York City Police Department's Highway Patrol's Accident Investigation Squad later determined that the intoxicated man was responsible for hitting the bicyclist and that the Infinity was the car involved in the crime, police said.