An elderly woman who was packing relief supplies for Puerto Rico was killed in a hit-and-run when she walked across the street to return home, her family said Saturday.
Hilda Arocho, 82, was packing the supplies at her daughter's house, which was across the street from her own home on Pitman Avenue in the Wakefield neighborhood of the Bronx.
Her daughter ran out into the street and held her elderly mother in her dying moments after Arocho was struck by a white Dodge cargo van at about 9 p.m. Friday night, the daughter, Lisbeth Arce, told NBC 4 New York.
The driver fled the scene on foot, police said, but turned himself in Saturday morning and was arrested.
He was identified as 50-year-old Alcyto Powell of the Bronx. He faces multiple charges of leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. It's not clear if he has an attorney who can comment on the case.
Arocho was brought to Jacobi Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said.
Her children couldn't contain their emotions as they remembered her as a fighter and someone who was always helping others.
"My mother was the embodiment of the American dream," Arce said, fighting back tears. "He's taken away a mom, a grandmother, my best friend."
She explained that Arocho came to the U.S. at age 16 and raised four children on a seamstress's salary. Arocho paid off her house and put all of her kid through college, Arce said.
Neighbors say this area of Pitman Avenue has always been a problem.
"I mean they speed here," one woman said. "You'd think you were in the Indianapolis raceway."
Arocho's granddaughter, Emily Gonzalez, said she wants stop signs installed along the road.
"That's all we've been asking for in this neighborhood for how long?" Gonzalez said. "I see all these flying cars pass this road."
Arce said the family wants to let relatives in Puerto Rico know what happened and to bring them up from the island to New York for the funeral — but after Hurricane Maria, they have no way of contacting them or getting them here.