MOTT HAVEN — A Bronx woman who was known in the neighborhood for selling beef patties and other Puerto Rican treats was struck and killed while crossing the street Tuesday.
Candida Acosta, 74, was on her way to buy a cup of coffee when she was hit by a grey 2013 Infiniti SUV near the corner of Beekman Avenue and East 141st Street about 11:05 a.m., according to the NYPD.
“’I’ll be back. I’m just going to get some coffee,' that’s the last thing she said to me, “ Christopher Cirado, 29, said. The two had been outside Acosta’s apartment smoking cigarettes minutes before the crash.
"Every morning she came out with a coffee and cigarette," he said.
The SUV was turning from Beekman Avenue onto East 141st Street when it struck Acosta, according to police. The car then jumped on the curb and smashed into a building.
Both the driver and a young passenger appeared to be shaken up after the crash.
“I saw a little girl jump out of the car,” a woman who only grave her name as Sandra, 41, said. “Her mouth was bleeding and some of her teeth got knocked out.”
The driver, who appeared to be pregnant, looked to be in shock as she simply sat in the car without moving or saying a word, Sandra said.
Authorities did not know their condition.
People around the neighborhood knew Acosta by affectionate nicknames. Her peers called her “Candy” while the younger generation simply knew her as “mommy” or "grandma."
Originally from Humacaou, Puerto Rico, Acosta was among the first people in the neighborhood to sell Puerto Rican beef patties, neighbors said. She started out selling them out of a shopping cart for $1 but saved enough money to buy a little red car, according to her longtime friend Providencia Andino, 54.
“She’d drive to Manhattan and sell patties out of her trunk during the [Puerto Rican Day] parade,” Andino said.
Acosta was remembered to as a generous person who assumed the best in people.
"She gave you food on credit and let you pay her back later," Andino said. "She was a beautiful, humble woman."
Police continue to investigate the crash Tuesday afternoon.
Multiple witnesses, including the man who called 911, Ali Nagi, told DNAinfo New York that the SUV was going about 35 MPH and rolled a stop sign before hitting Acosta.
The unidentified driver has not been charged.
Grieving neighbors gave their condolences to Acosta’s husband, Juan Torres. He declined to speak to reporters.