Grand Avenue sees death of two truck drivers

Two dead in separate Maspeth incidents on same day

By Jessica Meditz

One of the crashes occurred at the intersection of Borden and Grand Avenues in Maspeth. Photo by Robert Baranja.

Two truck drivers died within hours of each other in two separate incidents on Wednesday while working on Grand Avenue in Maspeth.

The first crash occurred at around 2:50 a.m. on Nov. 9, when 49-year-old Chad Hallenbeck of East Durham, N.Y. was struck in front of 56-05 Grand Avenue by a 2007 Chevy sedan going westbound, according to police.

When officers from the 104th Precinct responded, they observed Hallenbeck unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the roadway with severe body trauma.

Emergency Medical Services pronounced him dead at the scene, and transported the operator of the sedan to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where she is listed in stable condition, having sustained minor injuries.

Following an investigation performed by the NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad, the vehicle operator was identified as a 43-year-old female, who remained at the scene.

It was determined that while traveling westbound on Grand Avenue, she crossed over the double yellow line into the eastbound travel lane — striking Hallenbeck and his parked and unoccupied tractor trailer.

No arrests were made and the investigation remains ongoing.

Later in the day at around 10:40 a.m., about a mile down the road at the intersection of Grand and Borden Avenues, a truck driver operating a 2023 Freightliner Truck crashed into the cement pillar in front of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank. The collision also left the shelter for the Q58 and 59 buses shattered and destroyed.

Photo by Robert Baranja

Police say the driver, 50-year-old Stephen Roy Bennington of Croydon, P.A. experienced a medical episode behind the wheel.

He was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where he was pronounced deceased.

Robert Baranja, who works in Maspeth nearby, said he saw the crashed CVS Health truck when he stepped outside of work.

He was pleased to see the site cleaned up quickly and the FDNY’s timely response.

“It’s unfortunate what happened, but the fire department is right there,” he said. “The bridge and the LIE are right there too, so as far as the location where it was, it could have been a lot worse.”

According to the DOT, Maspeth is ranked No. 4 for highest freight activity out of the city’s 21 established Industrial Business Zones.

The Maspeth Industrial Business Zone is home to more than 850 industrial businesses.

Jackson Heights man indicted on narcotics, weapons charges

Search of defendant’s home found cocaine, handgun and ammunition 


By Alicia Venter


A Jackson Heights man has been indicted on charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office. 

Alejandro Rodriguez, 43, was arraigned yesterday on an 18-count indictment, including 14 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

According to the charges, Rodriguez is accused of supplying a large quantity of narcotics to an undercover officer over the course of five months.

The indictment states that there were a total of seven transactions Rodriguez and an undercover officer where more than 14 ounces of cocaine were sold. 

Rodriguez is of 91st Street in Jackson Heights. On Oct. 19, a search of the defendant’s home resulted in the recovery of 60 grams of cocaine, an unlicensed .45 caliber handgun and 20 rounds of ammunition.

Following this search, the defendant was arrested, and an additional 100 grams of cocaine were recovered from his person.

The defendant has been ordered to return to court on Dec. 6.

Illicit drug sales fuel addictions that destroy lives and violence that endangers  our communities,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “We will not relent in our efforts to remove this poison from our streets and hold accused dealers  accountable. I thank my Major Economic Crimes Bureau as well as our law enforcement partners for their commitment to those we serve.” 


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