WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A former building superintendent was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver just one block from his house Friday morning, police said.
Antonio Ramirez, 40, was crossing Audubon Avenue at the intersection of 176th Street about 4:40 a.m. when a dark-colored car traveling northbound mowed him down and kept going, according to law enforcement. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident occurred just one block from Ramirez's West 176th Street home, where tenants said Ramirez was as a building superintendent. Residents set up a memorial for Ramirez outside of the apartment building after news of his passing spread.
One resident, Robert Feliciano, stumbled on the accident site Friday morning. "I was walking to work and I saw the body laying down," Feliciano, 23, said. "I didn't know it was him until later, when my mom called."
Feliciano, who had lived in the building for five months, said that mourners have been stopping by to pay their respects.
"People from the neighborhood have been stopping by all afternoon," Feliciano said. "When something like this occurs in our community people come together."
The accident comes just days after the Department of Transportation rejected an application that would have turned a large section of the neighborhood, including all of Audubon Avenue, into a slow zone. Uptown politicians, including state Senator Adriano Espiallat, city Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and state Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, urged the DOT to reconsider the rejection in the wake of the accident, adding that the incident occurred less than a block from an elementary school, PS 115 Alexander Humbolt.
"This tragic-hit-and-run, less than a block from a school building, truly hits home from the people of Washington Heights," Rodriguez said Friday afternoon. "We have said it before and we will say it again, a slow zone is desperately needed on the eastern side of Broadway."
"It is past time that we enforced the speed of drivers in the area and take all measures to slow drivers down, particularly around school," Rosa added.