Cops Say They’ve Arrested the ‘Ghost Truck’ Driver Who Killed a 5-Year-Old

The moment of impact.
The moment of impact.

Police say they have arrested the plate-less pickup truck driver who ran over and killed a 5-year-old boy in Queens earlier this month.

According to cops, Xavier Carchipull, 40, struck Jonathan Martinez with his 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 on Sept. 1 as he made a reckless turn from McIntosh Street onto 100th Street. Carchipull, who lives about three miles away in Astoria, peeled out and fled as EMTs tried to save Martinez’s life. He died at Elmhurst Hospital hours later.

Carchipull was charged on Thursday with leaving the scene and operating the truck without a license, inspection, insurance or registration. The felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death carries a top sentence of seven years.

Video from the scene showed that Carchipull’s assault truck had a paper plate, which, given the charges, cops assert was fabricated or expired.

When he was struck, Martinez was killed less than a block from P.S. 127. As Streetsblog reported earlier this year, streets around schools tend to see higher levels of traffic violence, which disproportionately impacts students of color.

Very few hit-and-run drivers are ever caught in New York. In 2020 (the last full 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.

Jonathan is one of 74 pedestrians killed this year, according to the Department of Transportation. Perhaps more tellingly, injuries to pedestrians are up roughly 20 percent from last year, according to the NYPD. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 5,474 pedestrians have been injured in crashes, up from 4,421 over the same period last year.

Chart: DOT
Chart: DOT

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