Five Weeks Later, Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Hasn’t Charged the Driver Who Killed 4-Year-Old Luz Gonzalez and Left the Scene

More than 50,000 people have signed the "Justice for Luz Gonzalez" petition.

Video still: News 12
Video still: News 12

Bushwick is demanding justice for Luz Gonzalez, the 4-year-old girl killed by a hit-and-run driver over a month ago in Brooklyn.

The motorist, identified as Jeanette Maria, hit Luz and her mother Reyna Candia with a 2018 Nissan Rogue SUV on the sidewalk outside a laundromat at 82 Wyckoff Avenue on the afternoon of June 24.

gonzalez-luz-2
Luz Gonzalez

Video of the crash showed the driver back out of a parking spot perpendicular to the building — in an illegal parking lot that the city has since shut down — as Luz and Candia walk by. The vehicle can be seen rolling over the victims as the motorist then accelerates forward. The driver kept going.

Luz sustained fatal trauma to her chest. Candia was hospitalized.

The Daily News initially reported that the driver was pulled over “a few blocks away” and taken into custody. But the next day NYPD told the press Maria “was unaware she’d run over two people.”

Leaving the scene of a deadly crash is a felony, but NYPD and District Attorney Eric Gonzalez have filed no charges.

Luz’s loved ones, along with Brooklyn borough president and former police officer Eric Adams, have held demonstrations since the crash to demand that NYPD and the DA arrest and prosecute Maria. More than 50,000 people have signed the “Justice for Luz Gonzalez” petition.

To secure a hit-and-run conviction in New York, prosecutors must prove a motorist knew or had reason to know a collision occurred. In this case, video shows that the vehicle bounced up and down upon impact.

Locals don’t buy the claim that Maria drove away unknowingly. “That excuse is really stupid,” Jimmy Orellana, a cab driver for two decades who lives in Bushwick, told the Brooklyn Paper. “As soon as you hit a pothole, you feel the car stumble.”

In addition, rearview cameras are standard equipment on 2018 Nissan Rogues, according to Autotrader, and pricier models have cameras and other features that enable drivers to see and detect objects around the vehicle.

A spokesperson for the DA told Streetsblog this crash “is under active investigation.” But given Gonzalez’s record of lenient plea deals and, in the case of cyclist Neftaly Ramirez, declining to prosecute drivers who kill people and leave the scene, justice for Luz Gonzalez is no sure thing.

In the meantime, since NYPD didn’t even issue her a ticket, the motorist who ran over Luz and her mother is free to keep driving.

  • squidonabike

    This makes me so angry my hands are shaking as I type. How is it possible that a little girl can die horribly as a result of someone’s recklessness and there are no consequences? I am not a lawyer, but this seems to fit the definition of depraved indifference homicide. She reversed over a sidewalk without looking, crushed a child to death, then fled! Can anyone with a JD explain why this woman isn’t locked up awaiting trial?

  • Cain McDougal

    I’ll take devil’s advocate here.

    The laundromat should not have had an illegal parking lot where drivers needed to drive on the sidewalk. Looks like she was driving an SUV, which tends to have pretty big blind spots that can easily hide a child, even in front of the car. So many factors here led to this accident so the driver should not solely take blame here.

    Drivers can be VERY oblivious to things happening around them. Even the best of them, no matter how aware, can end up in situations like this. Like a child darting into the middle of the street in front of a car. 25 mph or whatever, the chances of getting run over are good when the conditions and factors are just right.

    There are “parking lots” like the one involved all over NYC. They are dangerous and need to be properly built or drivers like her would drive where pedestrians walk.

  • Cops, that’s why

  • Linda

    this the one with cop’s family doing the hitting and running I believe– ah of course it is

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