Staten Island Woman Dies in Hit-and-Run, Saves Grandson

The heroic woman pushed her 8-year-old grandson out of the way before she was hit

By Jonathan Vigliotti
|  Saturday, Apr 7, 2012  |  Updated 12:30 PM EDT
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Clara Almazo, 57, right, and her grandson, Brian Herrera-Ramirez, left

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A heroic Staten Island woman pushed her 8-year-old grandson out of the way before being struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver as the two walked home from church Thursday night.

Clara Almazo, 57, and her grandson, Brian Herrera-Ramirez, were crossing Cary Avenue in West Brighton just before 10 p.m. when a black Ford Escape came barreling toward them, police say.      

Witnesses said Almazo was thrown 10 to 20 feet by the impact. She was later pronounced dead at Richmond University Hospital. Her grandson suffered scratches and bruises.    

They were returning home from Thursday services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta Church.     

The alleged driver, Brian McGurk, turned himself in several hours after the accident and was charged Friday with leaving the scene of an accident. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer. 

It wasn't known how fast McGurk was driving. His vehicle is under police surveillance.

McGurk pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday. Bail was set at $50,000.

Police say additional charges could be issued against the 40-year-old suspect.

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