Family and friends are mourning the death of 18-year-old Eternity Stevens who was struck by a drunk hit-and-run driver as she rode an electric scooter to meet her sister at Kennedy Airport.
Eternity Stevens, 18, was riding her father’s TAILG electric scooter south on Rockaway Blvd. Oct. 12 with her 23-year-old girlfriend seated behind her when a 2013 Infiniti G37 rear-ended them near Guy R. Brewer Boulevard just outside JFK Airport. The impact threw both women to the ground.
The heartless driver fled the scene.
Stevens was taken to Jamaica Hospital with head injuries and died there three days later, authorities said. Her girlfriend, suffering head and hip injuries, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.
Charles Fleming, 55, was arrested shortly after the crash for drunk driving nearby in Long Island. He was later charged with leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular assault and DWI for the Queens crash.
He was released after posting $150,000 bail. Charges against him could be upgraded now that Stevens has died.
At Stevens’ family home in Far Rockaway Sunday, devastated relatives remembered her as a smart, savvy and ambitious woman with dreams of becoming an engineer.
Her shell-shocked step-brother, one of Stevens’ three siblings, said she had been gearing up to return to college around the time of her death.
“She was planning on going back to school while her girlfriend went to the military,” Lawrence Upson, 19, told the Daily News. “She was interested in studying engineering.”
“Imagine Eternity as a warrior,” he added. “She was definitely very smart and tactical about what she said. She was a fighter.”
Upson said his sister had been driving their father’s scooter to Kennedy Airport to meet up with her sister, who works at the airport. He was unsure of whether she had her dad’s permission to use it.
While Stevens’ loved ones grappled with her untimely death, the BMX bicycle she usually rode everywhere was placed against the fences of the Redfern Houses where she grew up as a memorial.
Her orange-and-black bike was painted white to quietly signify her passing. A white chiffon bow was tied to the handlebars.
“Two years ago, she got her first bike,” her brother said. “The first day she got it, she rode it everywhere. Everyone in the neighborhood knew her because she was always riding around.”
Fleming, who lives about a mile from the victim’s home, could not be reached for comment Sunday.
“I’m not happy but the law is the law,” Stevens’ aunt Leona Canton said of the suspect posting bail. “Everything is in God’s hands. He gets the last word.”
Stevens was at least the sixth person to die in New York City this year while riding an electric bicycle, electric scooter or moped, according to statistics from NYPD and street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
Pedal-assist e-bikes and registered mopeds with license plates are legal to operate in the five boroughs. A bill that would give the City Council the authority to legalize throttle-powered electric bikes and scooters was passed by the state legislature earlier this year but is still awaiting Gov. Cuomo’s signature.