Neighbors Mourn 'Good Father' Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run
GLENDALE — In a tiny section of Queens, near the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 88th Street, everybody knows your name and business owners leave their shops unattended, knowing a neighbor always has a watchful eye on them.
As police on Thursday continued their search for the driver who ran down a cyclist in Bed-Stuy, friends and neighbors of the man gathered near his Glendale home to tell stories and remember the man they loved.
"If you were his friend, you were his friend," said Angel Jorge, a 69-year-old retiree who lived a few doors down from Torres. "He'd do anything for you. He'd take the shirt off his back."
Friends described Torres as a man who did whatever he could for his two young children, ages 4 and 8.
They remember him marching with his older son in the local Little League parade. They remember him routinely coming home from work after hours of loading trucks at a warehouse, just in time to take his children to school.
Eric Pitrzak, 36, sends his daughter to the same school, P.S. 113, and remembers Torres attending every school event.
"He'd always go to things at the school, like the dance festival, the music show. He was always there," Pitrzak said. "Very good person, believe me."
They also remember Torres as an avid cyclist, the pastime that ultimately led to his death on Wednesday when a red 2014 BMW driving south on Broadway in Brooklyn near Halsey Street slammed into him around 8 a.m. He was dragged across the street before the BMW hit a parked car and drove off, police and witnesses said.
The driver then made a right on Thomas Boyland Street — driving the wrong way on a one-way street — and crashed into a 2000 Toyota 4Runner that was pulling out of a driveway near Chauncey Street, before exiting the car and fleeing the scene, police said.
Torres was rushed to Woodhull Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Police have not yet identified the driver of the BMW.
Some neighbors on Thursday were just hearing of Torres' death for the first time as friends relayed the news.
Frances Berg, a 65-year-old retiree, broke down into tears remembering a man she said helped her family in so many ways.
Berg, who suffered a stroke and an aneurysm, would often call on Torres to help around the house, which he would always do, no questions asked, she said.
He also helped with her son, who is autistic, she said.
"He treated him like everybody else," Berg said. "He was as proud of my son as we were."
Neighbors remember Torres' good nature as well. He loved to joke, and could take a good joke at his own expense. He once earned the nickname "lechero" for his years working as a milkman, a name he took in stride.
"He was funny. He was kind," said Berg. "What can you say? He was a man. You could respect him."