A Staten Island family is mourning the death of 49-year-old Aissatou Diallo, who was thrown to her death from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway after an allegedly drunk driver hit a disabled car she was standing beside. Her son says he chased the driver, who tried to flee on foot.
Diallo was heading home from a wedding in Queens when a relative driving another car, a 1997 Toyota RAV4, got a flat tire shortly before 3 a.m. on Monday. Police say that Diallo got out of the Chevy she was in—the Chevy's driver pulled up in front of the Toyota near Meeker and Morgan Avenues—and went to help the relative.
While she and other relatives were standing by the cars, a 2011 BMW heading west "struck the Chevy from behind which struck the pedestrians, causing [Diallo] to be thrown over the right barrier and fall to the roadway below. The BMW continued forward striking the Toyota before coming to final stop," according to the NYPD.
Witnesses said the driver, later identified as Vladimir Menin, a 43-year-old NJ resident, fled on foot. The victim's nephew Saliou Diallo said, "We pulled him back to the crime scene, and we held him there until the police came. But you can tell. I could smell the liquor all over him."
Diallo's son Abdouile told the Daily News he also helped keep Menin at the scene, “I was so angry. My first intent was to throw him over. But then I remembered I’m not a barbarian. My mom wouldn't have wanted that."
He added that Menin claimed he wasn't driving, though they saw him get out of the driver's side, "This guy was really drunk. His words were complete gibberish."
Diallo was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital, while eight others from the Chevy and Toyota were also taken there for evaluation.
Menin was taken to Woodhull Hospital for minor injuries and was later charged with manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, DWI, reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.