Queens park hit-and-run suspect faces assault charges

Police have arrested a man they believe drove into a 4-year-old boy in a park in Queens, critically injuring him. 

Authorities charged Argenis Rivas, 29, of Queens, with assault, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, acting in a manner injurious to a child, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, operating an unregistered motorcycle, and unlicensed operator, the NYPD said on Wednesday.

Police had described that someone riding a "two-wheel motorized device" slammed into the boy in a parking lot near the boathouse in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on Sunday. Investigators said the driver was speeding in between cars just before slamming into the boy and then speeding off.

The boy suffered severe head trauma and was being treated at Cohen's Children's Hospital, police said. He was listed in critical condition, authorities said.

"What began as a recreational Sunday in the park turned into a nightmare for a Queens family," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. "As alleged, the defendant was illegally riding a scooter through the park when he recklessly hit a child and kept going."

The DA's office is accusing Rivas of operating the motorized scooter at a "high rate of speed in the crowded parking lot when he struck the little boy, who fell to the ground, appeared to be unconscious and was bleeding from the head."

The incident highlighted the ongoing problem of people riding illegal motorcycles, dirtbikes, and ATVs on the city's streets and in some cases on sidewalks.

"The city has seen an unacceptable increase in defiant drivers of all types of vehicles driving illegally and hurting people," Katza said. "It is time we stand together to prevent further harm." 

If you have any information about this incident or other cases involving illegal vehicles, you can contact NYPD's Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477 (English), 888-577-4782 (Español), CrimesStoppers.NYPDonline.org, or Twitter @NYPDTips.