NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 26-year-old man on his way to work was killed in a hit-and-run in Brooklyn on Sunday morning.
Police are looking for the driver who was caught on video speeding away from the scene, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
The dark-colored sedan involved in the fatal accident is seen on home surveillance video a split second after striking Jose Contla, who was walking across 19th Avenue in Bensonhurst.
On another video, shot from across the street, a thump is heard, along with screeching tires. The car is then seen accelerating, instead of stopping.
The rate of speed and force of impact means noticeable front-end damage. It will be a telling clue as police search for a driver who left Contla behind to die.
Jose was the youngest of four siblings, who said he was full of ambition. He was fearless, wanting to provide a better life for his wife and high school sweetheart, Marisol Contla. They had been together for the last 12 years, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.
“He would tell me, ‘We are going to get through it. We’re going to do something. We are going to have a big house, kids.’ And here we are, I’m alone again without him,” Marisol said.
Jose Contla was working as a baker at the family business on 86th Street. Emmanuel Contla said he was supposed to meet his little brother at the bakery on Sunday, but instead of Jose, he saw cops and police tape.
“They told me there was an accident. When they told me to go to the police car to take my information, I saw his shoes. And then I realized something bad happened,” Emmanuel Contla told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
A cousin, who asked not to be identified, also had a message for the driver.
“This driver should come forward,” she said. “Just apologize at least. At bare minimum, be a human being. Just think about how they would feel if this would happen to them, happen to someone they love. It is just horrible.”
She said Contla’s father died recently. His mother, who, herself, is very ill, is now dealing with compounded heartbreak, losing a son who lived with her and helped her.
Family members said he was Brooklyn born and raised and spent his entire entire life on a block in Sunset Park. They also told Carlin he had big dreams, Carlin reported.
“He was aspiring to be a lawyer. He wanted to go to John Jay [College of Criminal Justice]. He was just very hard working, working to try pay for school, trying to get to school,” the cousin said.
The man whose cameras caught the car close up said speeding is too common on 19th Avenue.
“Very fast. Very fast,” Canhui Chen said.
It is a street with many cameras, and the various videos found are seen as key in catching a driver who residents call heartless.
“I want you to know that he was loved and if you are out there please give yourself [up], because you are going to get caught,” said Arlene Soto, the victim’s sister.
NYPD’s Crime Stoppers is offering an up to $2,500 reward for information. Call the hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.