Cops Say They Have Arrested the Car-Obsessed Hit-and-Run Driver Who Critically Wounded a Park Slope Pedestrian
Police on Thursday arrested the alleged hit-and-run driver who left a 44-year-old pedestrian in critical condition as he crossed a Park Slope street exactly one week earlier — and the suspect is a car-fiend who posts about his multiple four-wheelers on social media.
Cops said 31-year-old David Mocete, who lives just two blocks from the crash site on Fourth Avenue and Bergen Street, smashed into the pedestrian at around 9 p.m. last Thursday, then fled, heading northbound on Fourth Avenue in a gray 2015 Ford Taurus. The victim was rushed to Methodist Hospital, and remains in critical condition, according to police.
Meanwhile, cops searched the area for the car they had apparently spotted on video — and found it nearby. Cops seized the car without Mocete knowing — a legal move when any piece of evidence, in this case the car itself, is left in a public place, experts said. The next day, Mocete walked into the 84th Precinct station house in nearby Brooklyn Heights, and told cops that he thought his car had been stolen. He left in handcuffs, a police spokeswoman told Streetsblog.
“The individual walks into the 84th Precinct to say, ‘Hey, listen I don’t know where my vehicle is. I think it’s stolen,’ not knowing we had the vehicle in our possession,” said the spokeswoman, who declined to give her full name.
Mocete has been charged with tampering with physical evidence, and leaving the scene of a crash — class E felonies that each come with a maximum of four years behind bars, though such a sentence is unlikely, according to a law enforcement source.
Mocete’s Facebook page is filled with pictures of cars and videos of people speeding, revving their engines, and blowing fumes and exhaust. Mocete has posted multiple pictures of another car he likely drives — a blue four-door sedan — which has 12 tickets associated with its license plate, including two for going through red lights and one for speeding in a school zone, according to How’s My Driving.
Attempts to reach Mocete were unsuccessful.
Some Park Slope residents last week blamed the Department of Transportation for the unsafe conditions on Fourth Avenue that allow for, and even encourage, speeding.
“Who knows what happened at this particular intersection, but it certainly doesn’t help that the traffic-calming elements on Fourth Avenue weren’t fully reinstalled after the street was repaved last year,” said local safe-streets activist Doug Gordon. “There’s been a lot of progress on Fourth Avenue over the last decade but it’s clear that we’re nowhere close to making it as safe as it can be.”
The speedy arrest of Mocete is quite uncommon in hit-and-run cases. In 2020 (the last year for which there is full data), there were 39,299 hit-and-run crashes involving injuries or damage to property. Cops arrested just 351 people, or 0.8 percent of the cases. Police are better at solving hit-and-run crashes that cause serious injuries, though there are fewer of those. In 2021, there were 93 such crashes, and cops ended up making 24 arrests, or just over 25 percent of the time.
— with Gersh Kuntzman