Brooklyn man arrested for fatal Staten Island car crash

September 2, 2011 Heather Chin
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A dramatic scene unfolded on Tuesday afternoon, August 30, whena Bay 20th Street man was arrested by police after leading them ona brief chase through several backyards.

Brian Pittsley, 25, was wanted for allegedly causing and fleeingthe scene of a deadly car crash on Staten Island that killed one teenager and injured sevenothers.

Pittsley is said to have been driving the Chevy Suburban SUVthat sped down Hillside Terrace, ran a stop sign and collided witha Nissan Sentra at Hylan Boulevard before then flipping over andcrashing into a parked car at around 9:45 p.m. Monday. It isunknown whether alcohol was involved.

The crash killed 18-year-old Angel Rivera of Staten Island andleft six other teens as well as the 20-year-old driver of theNissan with various fractures and other injuries to their face,limbs and body. All were rushed to Staten Island UniversityHospital; a 17-year-old girl who was riding in the SUV had to haveher partially amputated right arm re-attached by doctors.

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The SUV’s driver – Pittsley – managed to crawl out of thetotaled car and escape on foot before police and emergency servicesarrived at the scene.

Pittsley was arraigned on Wednesday in Stapleton CriminalCourt on charges of leaving the scene and criminally negligenthomicide.

He claims that the crash was an accident caused by faulty breaks and that hewas speeding because he thought he was being followed.

He has five prior arrests dating back to 2003, for grandlarceny, assault, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and petitlarceny, according to sources quoted in The New YorkPost.

The wild chase – which included helicopters and dozens ofuniformed and plainclothes officers – that yielded Pittsley’slatest arrest was borne out of teamwork between police from StatenIsland’s 120th Precinct and Brooklyn’s 62nd Precinct, which coversBensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend.

The 62nd Precinct was contacted once Staten Island officers ID’dtheir suspect and saw that his home address was on Bay 20th Street.From there, the decision to utilize NYPD helicopters and numerousground forces, both uniformed and plainclothes, was made out of asense that there was safety in numbers, according to a policesource who added that the result was an example of greatorganization.

Pittsley, who is the father of a newborn, was caught in a shedbehind a house after running on 83rd and 84th Streets between 18thand 19th Avenues, according to witnesses.

All at once, you see 20 cars, police who say somebody in StatenIsland [did a] hit and run, killed somebody and came in thisneighborhood, said resident Vito Lodato. So finally, all the copssearched everything and finally caught him… So thank God theycaught him.

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