A senior citizen from Florida visiting her son for the holidays was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while in a Brooklyn crosswalk on Friday afternoon, police said.
Maria Lorente, 70, was killed while crossing Flatlands Avenue at East 78th Street in Canarsie. Graphic security camera footage shows she was walking in the crosswalk at the time, when a left-turning driver hit her—propelling her body onto the hood of the sedan, then rolling over her with the front tires.
The driver sped away, according to police, and has not yet been identified. Lorente was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
Officials said that Lorente had worked at the South Shore High School's cafeteria, steps from where she was killed. She'd retired and moved to Miramar, Florida, but was visiting her son, Jose Tapanes Jr., for the holidays.
“My mother was 70 years old, and she lived a good life, but she still had more years—she was a go getter and happy person,” Tapanes told amNewYork on Sunday.
The victim's husband, Jose Tapenes Sr., described his wife to the Daily News as "a beautiful, hard-working woman,” calling the tragedy "unbelievable."
On Monday afternoon, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez will join safe streets advocates at a press conference calling on state legislators to strengthen laws against hit-and-run drivers.
In 2018, less than 10 percent of hit-and-run drivers were arrested in New York City, and far fewer were ultimately convicted. Prosecutors like Gonzalez have blamed the state's vehicle and traffic law, claiming it requires them to prove a driver knowingly left the scene in order to bring hit-and-run charges. But safe streets advocates and some attorneys say its more complicated, and that D.A.s like Gonzalez frequently fail to bring charges against hit-and-run drivers despite sufficient evidence to do so.
Lorente's killing marks the second pedestrian death of 2020, following a year in which traffic fatalities increased on city streets.