A truck driver struck and killed an 85-year-old man as he was crossing the street in Brooklyn, then fled the scene before police located him on Monday night, authorities said.
The victim, a grandfather of five, had just left a Key Foods supermarket and was crossing the middle of the street to return home near Grand and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg at about 1 p.m., according to police and witnesses.
That's when a brown and white truck hit and ran over Rafael Nieves, according to family and witnesses.
The driver of the truck was located by police in Jersey City on Monday night. Authorities said that he is not in custody but is being interviewed by the NYPD's crash investigation squad. He told police that he didn't know he hit someone.
Witnesses say that after the driver hit Nieves, he stopped for a moment and then took off when he heard people yelling and banging on the side of the truck.
The grocery bag filled with Nieves' groceries was still on the scene after the accident. Police said he was crossing on a green light that turned red while he was in the street.
A friend of Nieves, Ozzie Torres, said he ran over, "not knowing who it was."
"Unfortunately the truck was going so quick, and you know, the roads were wet, but it has no impact on the situation," he said. "You ran him over, and cowardly kept on going."
Nieves was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Residents in the area mourned the beloved man, a "beautiful person" who was known in the neighborhood, according to Romen Ruiz.
"He was our leader, our guardian," daughter Maritza Nieves told NBC 4 New York. "He provided for us 24/7, all of us, all of his grandchildren."