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Eric Gonzalez: Probation and $500 Fine for Driver Who Killed Disabled Woman and Fled

Avenue J and E. 10th Street in Midwood, where Joseph Zayats fatally struck Krystyna Iwanowicz with an SUV and fled the scene. Image: Google Maps

The motorist who ran over Midwood pedestrian Krystyna Iwanowicz and fled the scene was sentenced to probation and a $500 fine, pursuant to a plea deal with Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.

The 64-year-old victim was crossing Avenue J near E. 10th Street at around 6 p.m. on October 8, 2016, when Hatzolah EMT Joseph Zayats struck her with a Jeep SUV with sufficient force to catapult her “several meters in the air,” according to the Polish-language news outlet Super Express.

Iwanowicz, who was disabled with sclerosis and used a walker, sustained a broken pelvis and other internal injuries. She died days later at Maimonides Medical Center.

Marcin Ivanovich, Iwanowicz’s son, told the Polish Daily News his mother was “very slow and cautious” when walking, "always waiting for the cars to stop ... to make sure it's safe to cross the street.”

"The driver either got on the cell phone or was driving too fast,” the family’s attorney said. “[H]e had a full field of vision, and the accident happened in daylight.”

Krystyna Iwanowicz and Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez
Krystyna Iwanowicz and Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez
Krystyna Iwanowicz and Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez

Zayats, then 22, abandoned the SUV and fled the scene on foot, the Polish Daily News reported. He turned himself in at the 66th Precinct the day after the crash. Zayats was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, a class D felony with penalties ranging from probation to seven years in prison. He was not charged for the act of killing Iwanowicz.

According to court records, last week the felony charge was dismissed and Zayats was allowed to plead guilty to a sole count of misdemeanor leaving the scene. He was sentenced by Judge John T. Hecht to two years probation and $588 in fines and fees. Assistant District Attorney Kerry Rowe prosecuted the case, court records said.

Iwanowicz was on her way to feed homeless cats, which she did every day, when Zayats killed her. “It [was] one of the few pastimes in [her] life," said Ivanovich.

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