Bushwick is demanding justice for¬†Luz Gonzalez, the 4-year-old girl killed by a hit-and-run driver over a month ago in Brooklyn.
The motorist, identified as¬†Jeanette Maria, hit Luz and her mother¬†Reyna Candia with a 2018 Nissan Rogue SUV on the sidewalk outside a laundromat at¬†82 Wyckoff Avenue¬†on the afternoon of June 24.
Video of the crash showed the driver back out of a parking spot perpendicular to the building ‚ÄĒ in an illegal parking lot that the city has since shut down ‚ÄĒ as Luz and Candia walk by. The vehicle can be seen rolling over the victims as the motorist then accelerates forward. The driver kept going.
Luz sustained fatal trauma to her chest. Candia was hospitalized.
The Daily News initially reported that the driver was pulled over ‚Äúa few blocks away‚ÄĚ and taken into custody.¬†But the next day NYPD told the press Maria ‚Äúwas unaware she‚Äôd run over two people.‚ÄĚ
Leaving the scene of a deadly crash is a felony, but NYPD and¬†District Attorney Eric Gonzalez have filed no charges.
Luz‚Äôs loved ones, along with Brooklyn borough president and former police officer Eric Adams, have held¬†demonstrations since the crash to demand¬†that NYPD and the DA arrest and prosecute Maria.¬†More than 50,000 people have signed the ‚ÄúJustice for Luz Gonzalez‚ÄĚ petition.
To secure a hit-and-run conviction in New York, prosecutors must prove a motorist knew or had reason to know a collision occurred.¬†In this case, video shows that the vehicle bounced up and down upon impact.
Locals don‚Äôt buy the claim that Maria drove away unknowingly.¬†‚ÄúThat excuse is really stupid,‚ÄĚ¬†Jimmy Orellana, a cab driver for two decades who lives in Bushwick, told the Brooklyn Paper. ‚ÄúAs soon as you hit a pothole, you feel the car stumble.‚ÄĚ
In addition, rearview cameras are standard equipment on 2018¬†Nissan Rogues, according to¬†Autotrader, and pricier models have¬†cameras and other features that enable drivers to see and detect objects around the vehicle.
A spokesperson for the DA told Streetsblog this crash ‚Äúis under active investigation.‚ÄĚ But given Gonzalez‚Äôs record of lenient plea deals and, in the case of cyclist Neftaly Ramirez, declining to prosecute drivers who kill people and leave the scene, justice for Luz Gonzalez is no sure thing.
In the meantime, since NYPD didn‚Äôt even issue her a ticket, the motorist who ran over Luz and her mother is free to keep driving.