By ADAM SCHRADER and THOMAS TRACY
Published in the New York Daily News on Nov. 2, 2017
A Queens high school quarterback mowed down by an enraged hit-and-run driver whose car was pelted with eggs, was an innocent bystander who didn’t participate in the prank, friends and relatives said Thursday.
Christopher Miraba, 17, suffered a broken back when Keith Richard allegedly drove his minivan onto a Long Island City sidewalk to chase several teens he believed threw eggs at him on Halloween night.
“He did not throw any eggs at all and the man … took all his anger out on him,” said Kelar Walker, 17, who was with Miraba when he was struck.
Miraba, the starting quarterback for Long Island City High School, was returning from football practice with his friends when he came across another group of teens hurling eggs on 23rd St. and Jackson Ave. about 8:20 p.m. One of the eggs hit Richard’s vehicle, witnesses said.
“One for one!” Richard screamed as he jumped into his minivan and began chasing the teens, according to the witnesses.
Several of Miraba’s friends said he didn’t throw anything, but Richard made a U-turn and charged at the teen when he split from the group.
“Chris was standing on the curb,” Walker recalled. “(Richard) came up onto the curb and hit him… smashed him into a pole.”
Richard, who lives in Long Island City, then threw his minivan into reverse and ran over Miraba again, horrified witnesses told police.
“That’s what happens,” Richard remarked to a witness who thought he had killed Miraba, according to court papers.
Miraba miraculously survived.
Medics rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital with fractures to his skull, spine, pelvis and right leg. He lungs were also damaged.
Doctors told the teen’s mother, Maria Miraba that he need s multiple surgeries. A rod will have to be inserted into his back to mend his shattered spine, physicians said.
He will likely never play football again, doctors told Miraba’s mother. The teen was playing the sport to cope with the loss of his father, who died last year.
Miraba, 42, said she watched a video of Richard plowing into her son. Her child shoved two other teens out of the way before he was hit.
“He looks like a rag doll underneath that van,” she said.
The broken teen also gave her a first-hand account.
“My son said, ‘Mom, I had his wheel on my chest.’” she said. “He told me not to cry. That’s the first thing he said to me.”
“My son is stable, but we’re not out of the (woods) yet,” she said. “He’s in good spirits, but in a lot of pain. He’s moving his legs so we’re all praying for him to walk.”
Richard abandoned his minivan and tried to run away, but was quickly caught, authorities said.
A Queens Criminal Court judge ordered Richard held without bail on charges of attempted murder, assault and leaving the scene of an accident on Wednesday. He’s facing 25 years in prison if convicted, Queens prosecutors said.