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Matthew Von Ohlen's Hit-And-Run Driver Arrested 4 Months After Death: NYPD

By Gwynne Hogan | November 15, 2016 9:51am
 Matthew Von Ohlen, 35, was killed in July night on Grand Street by a driver who fled the scene. 
Matthew Von Ohlen, 35, was killed in July night on Grand Street by a driver who fled the scene. 
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WILLIAMSBURG — A hit-run driver was arrested Tuesday four months after fatally mowing down a cyclist in the Grand Street bike lane, according to police and prosecutors.

Juan Maldonado, 56, a delivery driver for Certified Lumber from South Williamsburg was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in South Williamsburg for the death of cyclist Matthew Von Ohlen, 35, who was killed July 2 near the intersection of Grand Street between Manhattan and Graham Avenues in Williamsburg.

He was arraigned on an indictment of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other charges in Brooklyn Supreme Court Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said. 

The fatal crash happened when Maldonado swerved into the bike lane on Grand Street, sped through a red light at an intersection and then hit Von Ohlen from behind, sending him flying to the ground, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said.

Maldonado kept driving and ran over the fallen man again, dragging him between 10 and 20 feet before he sped off, prosecutors said.

Part of the incident was captured in surveillance footage, according to the DA. 

"After a lengthy, lengthy, lengthy investigation they were able to get an indictment and arrest him on a warrant this morning," said Deputy Inspector William Gardner, head of Williamsburg's 90th Precinct.

Maldonado was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and held on $100,000 bail, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office confirmed.

Bernt Von Ohlen's, Matthew's father, reached by telephone Tuesday at his Minneapolis home, said the arrest brought the family a bit of solace.

"The fact of the arrest doesn't change the sense of loss and the grieving, but hopefully it's a step in the direction of justice for Matthew, so that's encouraging," he said.

Police had been keeping the family informed throughout the investigation, letting them know they knew who had hit Matthew but that they couldn't make an arrest till they had further confirmation, he said. 

"There's lots of reasons to be frustrated and unhappy with the New York police department, but the people working on this investigation...They've been wonderful," the father said.

Matthew, a cycling enthusiast and bartender who co-founded the company Bikestock, a roadside vending machines for all types of bike repairs, died of severe trauma after Maldonado hit him in a Grand Street designated bike lane at 2:37 a.m.

Maldonado fled the scene and evaded arrest for months while police offered a $2,500 reward for tips leading to his capture, police said.

Von Ohlen's death has ignited transit advocates and friends and family members of the man to call for safer protected bike lanes on Grand Street.

Maldonado held on $100,000 bail after his arraignment, according the city Department of Correction website.