Yesterday, a 27-year-old auto mechanic was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Gowanus. Felipe Castro, was repairing a Ford Expedition parked halfway on the sidewalk in front of Samba Transmission & Auto Repair (where he worked) on Third Avenue near 7th Street around 7:30 a.m. Saturday when he was struck by a driver in a black Nissan. Castro was taken to New York Methodist Hospital in critical condition, and has since succumbed to his wounds. "He was a very happy...lovable person, a caring person," Castro’s wife, Mguelina Gonzalez Hernon, told the News.
A witness who was also driving in the neighborhood at the time said that he didn't believe the suspect saw Castro. "This guy behind me [in the Nissan] kept beeping at me,” Kero told the News. "The guy shifted over to the bike lane. He had to be doing 40 to 45 MPH for sure." He said that the driver sideswiped the bumper of the car Castro was working on, and then hit Castro: "He hit the guy and the guy went flying and slammed into a parked car head-first."
Kero adds that he followed the Nissan down to 14th Street before he lost him—"He kept beeping at cars in front of him ...He was swerving a lot"—but he was able to get his license plate number and give it to police. No arrests have been made yet, but cops say the investigation is ongoing.
"He didn’t drink, he didn’t smoke, he just worked and went straight home,” added Castro's wife, who noted they have a four-year-old daughter. "I don’t want what he did to just go away,” she said of the hit-and-run driver. "He just destroyed his life."