NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are still searching for the person responsible for a fatal hit-and-run in East Harlem Sunday in Manhattan.
According to friends of the victim, he was delivering food when he died.
“As soon as we met him, he was a hard working man,” said Wilber Hernandez of G&J’s pizzeria.
As CBS2’s John Dias reports, Hernandez spent only a few months working with 42-year-old Ernesto Guzman, be he says it was impactful.
“With us, he was very friendly. That’s how we knew him, used to joke around with him. We got along,” Hernandez said.
The two worked together at G&J’s pizzeria in East Harlem but on Sunday, Guzman, who was originally from Mexico, was fatally struck by a car just before 5 p.m. near the corner of East 97th Street and Second Avenue while delivering food on his e-bike.
“Right now, we are bummed out,” Hernandez said.
We’re told that the driver of a black Chevy Tahoe driving west on 97th Street hit Guzman, leaving him badly injured. The driver fled the scene, and the vehicle was later recovered, unoccupied, about a block away.
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Police say when they arrived to the scene, Guzman had injuries all over his body. Metropolitan Hospital Center was only yards away, but by the time first responders got him inside, doctors couldn’t save him.
Locals say things could have been different if the driver stayed and helped.
“He probably could have had a better chance of surviving,” said East Harlem resident Chris DiMurio.
“The hospital is right here. Why wouldn’t it take the man to not take him there,” said Luis Luzada.
According to the non-profit Transportation Alternatives, Guzman is at least the 20th person to die while riding a bicycle this year in the city.
“Delivery cyclists have been on the front lines of this pandemic, and food delivery remains one of the most dangerous jobs in New York,” a spokesperson for Transportation Alternatives said.
Moments before riding past remnants of caution tape at the scene, cyclist Pabelo Reis told Dias he agrees. .
“Sometimes, drivers of cars don’t pay attention,” he said. “You have to be careful. You have to pay attention.”
Police tell CBS2 they’re still investigating the fatal hit-and-run. They have yet to make any arrests.
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