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MTA worker arrested in hit-and-run death of Aron Aranbayev, ‘jeweler to the stars’

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FOREST HILLS, Queens – An MTA train operator has been arrested in the hit-and-run death of Aron Aranbayev, a popular jeweler, who was well known in celebrity circles whose client list included musical artists, actors and comedians.

Valley Stream man Jordan Charles, 46, faces charges of murder, murder with depraved indifference and leaving an accident resulting in death, police announced Thursday.

District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant is accused of viciously running down and killing a 40-year-old man, who was standing in front of his home. The victim didn’t have a chance. He was allegedly brutally rammed by a 1,000-plus pound, high-speed vehicle that violently threw him to the ground. The victim hit his head and succumbed to his injuries. This was a senseless, violent death that could have easily been prevented.”

Surveillance video of the incident shows a dark-blue 2005 Dodge Magnum striking Aron Aranbayev in front of his Forest Hills home on 71st Avenue Sunday, July 19.

It apparently started as a chance encounter -- the 40-year-old was reportedly returning home when the driver started yelling at him for being in the street.

That's when Jordan allegedly threw the Dodge into reverse, backed up and slammed into Aranbayev before speeding away.

Aranbayev – known as Eric to his friends, family and his celebrity clients – opened Rafaello and Co. in 2009 and quickly got the attention of athletes, musicians and entertainers alike.

Known for designing pricey pieces of jewelry worth millions for the likes of Jay-Z, Khloe Kardashian, Kevin Hart and many others.

The husband and father came to the United States from Uzbekistan and was laid to rest earlier this week. Tributes poured in from his famous customers.

Jordan is expected to be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court and could get up to 25 years to life in prison.