By Sarah Tan
Special to DNAinfo
WILLIAMSBURG — The family and friends of a Brooklyn man fatally struck on his way to work Wednesday morning remembered him as an honest and caring father committed to his job and family.
Leopoldo Hernandez, 57, a maintenance worker at Deepdale Garden Company in Little Neck, Long Island, was on his way to work early Wednesday morning when he was struck twice by two separate vehicles outside 180 Borinquen Place in Williamsburg.
Relatives said Hernandez, originally from the Dominican Republic, had worked as a baker but switched careers about 10 years ago to make more money.
He had just left his home on South Second Street Wednesday when a white 2002 Ford commercial van traveling eastbound slammed into him just after 6 a.m., police said. As he lay on the street, a gray 2005 minivan also hit him, police said.
Hernandez had been walking to meet his co-worker, Rommel Morales, at the corner of Meeker and Union avenues when he was struck, his colleague explained.
Morales, 38, said he had been meeting Hernandez at that spot almost every day for the past six years, and that the two of them would then drive to Long Island together.
But on Wednesday morning, Hernandez didn't show up.
"I called him, but he never answered his phone because he had forgotten it at home. I thought maybe he thought I wasn't going to work today," Morales said, adding that he then left the location.
As Morales was driving to work, Hernandez's wife, Maricela, called to ask if he had picked up her husband, the victim's colleague said. When Morales said he hadn't seen him, the two thought he had taken the train to work instead.
However, when Morales got to work and still didn't find Hernandez, people started to worry.
"He was such a nice person, we won't forget about him. He was hardworking, honest, helpful. He'd stay for everyone," Morales said.
"We work eight hours, but if they called him for work, say, five or six hours later, he'd go immediately," his colleague added. "He didn't think twice."
Hernandez's son, Rainell, 15, remembered his father as a role model.
"He wanted me to be a baseball player," Rainell said. "Every Sunday, he would always stay with me at baseball practice, no matter how late it was."
His son added that he was always willing to help others out.
"He was always bringing food from home to work, and he would share it, even if no one asked him to," Rainell said. "He always thought about others first."
It is Hernandez's kind spirit that will leave the biggest impact, his loved ones said.
"What I learned from him was that you always be nice, no matter what," Morales said. "That's his legacy — he was always nice to others and always giving, even if they didn't need it or ask for it."
The family will be holding a private funeral in Brooklyn Friday.