Elderly Bronx Woman Fatally Struck Walking Home From Preparing Hurricane Relief Packages

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A driver is facing charges after police say he fatally struck an elderly woman crossing the street Friday night in the Bronx and then ran away.

Investigators said 82-year-old Hilda Arocho was attempting to cross Pitman Avenue in the Wakefield section around 9:30 p.m. when she was hit by a white Dodge cargo van travelling westbound.

She was rushed to NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi where she was pronounced dead.

Police said 50-year-old Alcyto Powell, of the Bronx, turned himself in Saturday morning. He’s charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. 

The victim’s daughter, Miriam Vega, described her mother as a community hero who was beloved by neighbors.

“Just leave her lying there in the street — that’s what hurts me the most, because she was such a giving person,” she told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

Archo was killed after spending the night of her death on a labor of love for survivors of Hurricane Maria.

“She was working, making packages — relief packages — to send to her family in Puerto Rico,” her other daughter, Lisbeth Arce, said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if speed was a factor in the crash, but neighbors told 1010 WINS’ Holly Haerr people regularly speed in the area. They said they’ve created petitions to try and get stop signs or speed bumps installed.

In the moments after the crash, neighbors yelled for Arce to come outside.

“I just ran over to her little body. I never saw the person,” she said.

Archo had four children, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and almost all of her siblings live in her native Puerto Rico, Carlin reported. Family members said they were already having a hard time getting through to relatives on the hurricane-battered island, and now it’s urgent they make contact to break the sad news.

“For the people of San Sebastian, for those in Puerto Rico, please for someone to get in touch with our family,” Vega pleaded.

It is important to the family that drivers slow down and that Archo be remembered as a leader and successful businesswoman who came to America at 16 years old and started off sewing in a factory.

“She purchased the company she started working for, and with that money she was able to pay all of us our education,” Arce said.

She said her mother’s story epitomized the American Dream — one undeserving of this nightmare ending.

Services will be held at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church on Barnes Ave. The date and time are still being arranged.

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