What to Know
- The woman killed when a city sanitation truck allegedly struck her in a hit-and-run in the Bronx early Tuesday morning has been identified
- Maria Cruz's family confirms to NBC 4 the 80-year-old grandmother is the victim of the fatal incident
- The worker driving the truck has been suspended by the sanitation department; No arrests have been made
The woman who was killed when a city sanitation truck allegedly struck her in a hit-and-run in the Bronx early Tuesday morning has been identified as an 80-year-old grandmother.
In an exclusive interview with News 4, Maria Cruz’s family confirms that she was the victim of the hit-and-run that occurred around 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of 138th Street and Willis Avenue in the Mott Haven section.
According to family members, Cruz may have been an octogenarian but she was active and independent, leaving home early every morning to buy a newspaper, her family said, adding that was what she was doing when she was fatally hit Tuesday.
"I was like, 'Oh, my God, the paper's not here," said Cruz's daughter Carmen Tirado. "She never came home. She never came home. That's all I kept saying, 'She never came home.'"
"Eighty years young, not old," said granddaughter Giovannia Santos. "Not an old bone in her body."
Her family also says Cruz was a stickler about crossing with the light and paying attention when walking — making Tuesday’s incident especially shocking for them.
"You hit a grandmother. You hit a mother," said Santos. "You hit a woman of this community. You hit a woman of the church. You hit someone."
Surveillance video obtained by News 4 New York shows the truck turning left and running over the woman. The sand spreader continued to drive away, treating the roads -- even appearing to spray the woman as it headed down Willis Avenue.
The 33-year-old worker driving the truck has been suspended by the sanitation department pending a police investigation. Police haven't charged the sanitation truck driver, saying he didn't realize he hit someone. But Cruz's family doesn't buy it.
"I do not believe that, no," said daughter Gladys Tirado. "He's guilty. You're guilty. You're guilty."
"God is big," she added. "What goes around comes around. It may be sooner than you think."