NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One man was killed early Saturday when a minivan slammed into him in a hit-and-run in the Bronx.
Around 1:10 a.m., police were dispatched to 666 E. 233rd St., at White Plains Road in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, for a call of a pedestrian struck. They found the 32-year-old man lying at the scene with severe trauma.
Police learned that the man had been struck by a 1988 Toyota Sienna that had been speeding east down 233rd Street and ended up jumping the curb and hitting the side of the building.
The occupants of the vehicle ran off, police said. The vehicle remained at the scene with a smashed windshield later Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the victim — identified by family and friends as Derrick Callender — was taken to Montefiore Medical Center North Division, where he was pronounced dead.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, Callender was hanging out in front of a bodega on 233rd Street when witnesses said he bent down to grab a DVD that had fallen onto the sidewalk when he was struck and killed in the blink of an eye.
Callender, a father of three, had been looking forward to his 33rd birthday on Monday. One of his children was with him when he was struck but a neighbor was able to push her aside at the last second.
Family and friends insisted Callender was an innocent bystander.
Witnesses said the incident may have started as a dispute in a nearby liquor store and spilled out into the street.
“There was a fight on the street, and people fighting there. The van was parking and double-parked. Somebody smashed all his windows. He got mad because of that. He ran all the way down, make a U-turn, come back,” said one man, who did not want his name used out of fear of reprisals in the neighborhood.
Callender’s friend Cathy Townsel described a frantic scene.
“I heard the commotion, I heard the car, I heard the impact, I heard people screaming,” she said.
Surveillance video showed the minivan making a wild u-turn on White Plains Road before racing down the street, making a 180-degree turn, and racing up the sidewalk, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
Witnesses said that the driver may have been looking for the owner of the liquor store.
“I heard it was a commotion in the liquor store about whoever came to the liquor store wasn’t able to purchase the alcohol and they came back for the owner of the liquor store,” one person said.
The owner of the liquor store told CBS 2 that Callender was a good friend of his but no connection has been made between the victim and the vehicle. The neighborhood was filled with grief in the wake of the incident.
“He got caught in a crossfire that wasn’t for him,” a neighbor said.
Police were still investigating at the scene hours later. There were no reports of arrests.
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