A woman accused of fatally plowing her car into a bystander on a Queens sidewalk was targeting the sister of her estranged, abusive boyfriend, her attorney claimed Wednesday.
Accused hit-and-run driver Kiani Phoenix, 26, had been “attacked” by her boyfriend’s sister inside a Far Rockaway convenience store Saturday, attorney Marvyn Kornberg told The Post.
Phoenix allegedly jumped into her Honda Accord and drove up on the sidewalk, ramming into 59-year-old Milton Storch who was sitting on a walker outside the Rohan deli on Beach 20th Street near New Haven Avenue.
“She’s extremely, extremely sorry for what happened,” Kornberg said.
Phoenix — who turned herself into cops on Monday — had filed 10 domestic complaints against her ex, who was hit with a slew of charges Tuesday. Phoenix was scarred from the abuse and had spent a total of 18 months in a mental-health facility, Kornberg said.
He claimed the horrific crime could have been prevented if police had arrested the ex and put orders of protection in place.
“Could she have helped what happened? Absolutely not,” he said about his client. “It’s an accident that didn’t have to happen if an arrest had been previously made by police.”
The boyfriend was arrested Tuesday and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor and assault of a 42-year-old woman, law enforcement sources said.
He was also charged with two assaults, robbery and three counts of criminal contempt against Phoenix, sources added. Police didn’t confirm an arrest Wednesday.
The 42-year-old woman in the assault case is Phoenix’s mother, according to Kornberg.
“Had they made the arrest months ago, none of this would have ever happened,” Kornberg said. “That’s the catalyst with the fight – the fact she has these complaints against the brother.”
Phoenix was set to undergo a psychological evaluation Wednesday night, her attorney said. She had suffered two anxiety attacks and had to be hospitalized on the day she surrendered to cops, he said.
“How do you measure how traumatized somebody is?” Kornberg said. “If you take a woman who has been abused, who’s been struck and beaten on numerous occasions you can’t measure the effect.”
Phoenix is facing charges of murder, attempted murder, assault and leaving the scene of incident without reporting.
She and her ex’s sister got into a verbal argument that turned physical, ending with Phoenix trying to rundown the sister on the sidewalk, according to the criminal complaint against her.
The sister and others ducked into the deli for cover and Phoenix’s car slammed into Storch, the complaint said.
Phoenix backed up and hit another bystander, a 36-year-old man who sustained injuries, before she sped off, prosecutors said.
Phoenix is due back in court Sept. 21.
Additional reporting by Tina Moore and Georgett Roberts