HUNTS POINT — A dirt bike rider killed this weekend after being accidentally rear-ended by an NYPD cruiser — that he and a passenger were trying to escape — was described by a relative as a church-going building super.
Eddie Fernandez, 28, was taken to Lincoln Hospital where he died Saturday after his friend, Adalberto Gonzalez, hopped on the back of his unregistered Honda dirt bike in attempts to flee police, according to police.
Gonzalez was apparently being chased by police on his own dirt bike before driving it onto the sidewalk and then joining Fernandez.
"[Fernandez] liked to help people," his cousin Jose Lopez, 48, said. "It was a kindness that he had. It was natural to him."
Fernandez was a super for a Bronx apartment building and was known for being a good handyman, Lopez said. On Sundays, Fernandez would visit his mother and the two would go to mass at Our Lady of Angels, near Marble Hill.
"He had a good understanding of God," Lopez said. "He told me recently that he wants to know what God wants him to do with his life. He was searching that path."
Along with making funeral arrangements, Lopez said his family was hiring a lawyer to investigate the circumstances of his cousin's death.
The crash occurred amid mounting frustration by Hunts Point residents over what they see is an out-of-control culture of rogue dirt bike riders who tear through the area with impunity.
Locals have complained about bike riders riding onto sidewalks, weaving through traffic and threatening drivers and pedestrians. They feared that police were hindered from pursuing the bikers for fear of creating additional safety hazards.
"I know the cops get frustrated with people on dirt bikes because they always just ride away," Lopez said. "But it doesn't give them the right to use their police car like a bumper car."
Fernandez is survived by his mother who lives in the Bronx; his father who lives in the Dominican Republic; and brother who works as a logger in Maine.
Gonzalez, who suffered minor scrapes, was arrested at the scene and charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration, fleeing from police and resisting arrest, police said.
He was arraigned Monday, posting the $15,000 cash or $7,500 and was expected to return to court Sept. 12.