Three pedestrians were run down and killed in a trio of hit-and-runs over an eight-hour period Saturday and Sunday, the NYPD said.
The first person who was killed, 63-year-old Jose Contreras, was hit by an SUV near an entrance ramp to the Cross Bronx Expressway and Webster Avenue in the Bronx Saturday evening.
The SUV driver sped away. Contreras was taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Family members said Contreras was returning home from his sister's birthday party when he was hit. They said he helped organize the festivities.
Then, at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday in Ozone Park, Queens, 48-year-old Besik Shengelia was run down by a car at 111th Street and 109th Avenue. The driver drove off on 111th Street afterward.
Shengelia, of Brooklyn, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Then, just 20 minutes later in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a 41-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue. The driver, in a four-door Nissan Altima, sped away from the scene.
The pedestrian, whose identity wasn't disclosed by police, died at New York Methodist Hospital.
Last month, Mayor de Blasio announced that city streets in 2015 were the safest they've ever been and credited the city's Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic fatalities. His office pledged Sunday to vigorously pursue the drivers involved in the three fatal hit-and-run accidents.
"The NYPD is aggressively pursuing the perpetrators," said Wiley Norvell of the Mayor's office. "Investigators are examining video footage from the area of each crash to identify those responsible to hold them accountable."
Anyone with information on the fatal hit-and-runs should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.