The body of an unidentified man who was hit by a car, trapped under another vehicle and dragged for nearly 20 miles will undergo an autopsy so authorities can try to determine when he died.
Police said the gruesome episode was accidental and that they have no plans to charge the drivers at this time. The autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.
Investigators had a difficult time identifying the body, found largely intact but horribly battered. The man has been identified as Guido Salvador Carabajo-Jara. He had just turned 26 the day before getting killed. He was from the Corona secton of Queens, according to police.
The man's heels were shorn off during the hourlong ordeal over busy New York City streets. His clothes and several layers of skin on his legs and buttocks were worn off. The back of his head was worn through to the scalp.
The man was hit Wednesday morning in Corona, while apparently crossing against the light. The driver, Gustavo Acosta, called police, who arrived to find the victim gone and no damage to the SUV, making it look as though no one had been hit.
About two vehicles behind, Manuel Lituma Sanchez drove over the victim, who was facing up, and the man became hooked under his sternum and up through his chest by a steel plate under the van known as the skid plate, used to protect the transmission and undercarriage.
Unaware of anything wrong, Lituma Sanchez made his way on the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway, winding from Queens to Brooklyn and ending up in Brighton Beach, where he worked as a delivery man, police said.
On the residential streets at a slower speed, he suspected something was wrong with his engine, and he stopped, opened the hood and checked the oil. But he did not look under the car.
“I didn't feel anything, and I didn't hear anything,” Lituma
Sanchez told reporters outside his Queens home on Wednesday. “I didn't know what happened.”
The van traveled for nearly an hour before a pedestrian alerted the driver to something dragging under the van. Lituma Sanchez looked underneath, saw the body, and called authorities.
“You can't imagine the shock I felt” on seeing the corpse, Lituma Sanchez told reporters. “I'm just so nervous and very sad.”
Police retraced the van's route and recovered a blue jacket believed to belong to the victim. The victim was described as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s, between 5 feet 2 and 5 feet 4 inches tall. A broken iPhone, business card and Western Union receipt were found in the man's pockets, police said.
Both drivers have clean records, police said.