Drive for answers: Grievers push police to explain why girl’s killer still free after deadly hit-and-run

Still fighting: Community members marched to the 83rd Precinct on July 5 to demand justice for 4-year-old Luz Gonzalez, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on June 24.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

They’re still in the dark.

Demonstrators swarmed the 83rd Precinct station house on Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick on July 5, demanding authorities explain why the hit-and-run driver who fatally ran over a 4-year-old on a nearby sidewalk on June 24 has yet to be arrested or charged, even after cops stopped her fleeing the scene.

Officers, who addressed crowd members for the first time since they began daily marches through the neighborhood 12 days before, said the case now rests with prosecutors, and that the driver may still be cuffed despite previous Police Department claims that she will likely not be arrested due to lack of evidence and probable cause.

“What happened was horrible. It takes time. It doesn’t mean that the lady is free — she’s entitled to due process,” said 83rd Precinct Executive Officer Capt. Hugo Dominguez, whose comments made in Spanish were translated into English by staff at this newspaper.

The group — which included family and friends of young Luz Gonzalez, whose first name means “light” in Spanish — began their demonstration at the Clean City Laundry Center on the corner of Wyckoff Avenue and Hart Street, where, more than two weeks ago, motorist Jeanette Maria backed out of what the Department of Buildings on July 6 ruled an illegal parking spot perpendicular to Hart Street, turned, and drove into Gonzalez and her mother, killing the girl and injuring her parent as the mom bent down to tie the youngster’s shoe.

Cops stopped Maria shortly afterward on Hart Street between Irving and Knickerbocker avenues, but let her go, prompting Gonzalez’s relatives and their advocates to stage regular marches through the neighborhood, the latest of which featured participants chanting “justice for Luz” in Spanish, and waving flags of Mexico — Gonzalez and her parents’ native country.

Video footage of the horrific incident shows Maria’s car visibly bounce up and down while she rolled over the mother and daughter — proof that it is impossible for her to claim she didn’t know she hit the pair, according to one demonstrator, who argued his 20 years of experience driving a cab makes him knowledgeable about what can be felt while behind the wheel.

“That excuse is really stupid. As soon as you hit a pothole, you feel the car stumble,” said Jimmy Orellana, who lives in Bushwick.

Attendees also pressed authorities about claims spreading on social media that allege Maria’s brother is a police officer, and that she threatened to call immigration officials on the Mexican family if they pressed charges.

Neither Police Department nor district attorney’s office reps responded to multiple requests for comment on the allegations that Maria is related to one of New York’s Finest.

But cops from the 83rd Precinct told the demonstrators that those claims are irrelevant to the investigation, and that authorities assured Gonzalez’s family of their safety, regardless of their immigration status, immediately after the tragedy occurred.

“After it happened I met with [Gonzalez’s mom] with others that spoke Spanish. She came asking for help, and I said whatever you need, we are here to help,” Sgt. Anna Serrano told the crowd, speaking in English. “I told her, ‘You are in a safe place here. The NYPD policy is we do not enforce immigration laws.’ ”

Meanwhile, the laundromat’s owner must now remove the facility’s parking lot following the Buildings Department’s ruling, according to a rep, who said that barriers must also be installed to block vehicle access to the lot, and that the agency may crack down on the business even more pending further inspections.

— with Julio Tumbaco

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 6:53 pm, July 11, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Driver is obviously related to a cop or politician so they will be protected.
July 9, 2018, 7:09 am
Robert from Bushwick says:
Nothing more disgusting than "New York's Finest". Have a BBQ or drink a beer on your stoop? a ticket! Murder a young child? These "humans" will give you total free getaway. Keep on pushing them!
July 9, 2018, 8:17 am
Cathy says:
Hate to say it, but she put herself in a dangerous situation. There’s no reason the driver can’t report her to immigration, and that she won’t be deported.
July 9, 2018, 9:03 am
frank mead from Manhattan says:
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime (whether you know you hit someone or NOT).

Cops protecting their own as anyone can tell.

The Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez's needs to fired:

And members of his team: Cooper Gorrie, Shaun Winter, Sean Balkan, Lawrence Oh.
July 9, 2018, 10:46 am
Jack from Brooklyn says:
"The NYPD policy is we do not enforce immigration laws.’ ”

It seem the NYPD does not enforce traffic laws as well.
July 10, 2018, 4:39 am
CJ from Bushwick says:
Hey Pamela, I'll be sure to also blame you if you're ever hit by a car. This girl was ON THE SIDEWALK when she was killed. Pathetic that you'd stoop to victim-blaming in this situation.
July 10, 2018, 10:03 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Threatening to deport the mother of the child you just killed is beyond the pale. Get this sociopath off our streets.
July 10, 2018, 12:30 pm
Joe Bloe from Bensonhurst says:
" lack of evidence and probable cause " ??
Evidence = pedestrian child fatally struck
Probable cause = driver left the scene
July 11, 2018, 8:52 am
Joe Bloe from Bensonhurst says:
@cathy, me thinks you should be deported back to the land of idiots.
July 11, 2018, 9:36 am
Stephanies Suenaga says:
This little girl needs justice ,
Immigrant or not you don’t take somebody life and not go to jail ,
If it was the other way around I’m sure she would have been arrested right away , she needs justice
Aug. 5, 2018, 1:39 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: