The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Hit-Run Driver Thought Woman He Killed Was a Chunk of Ice, DA Says

By Katie Honan | February 24, 2015 2:37pm
 Valentin Gonzalez, 27, told police he knew he'd hit something, but didn't know it was a person.
Valentin Gonzalez, 27, told police he knew he'd hit something, but didn't know it was a person.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — The unlicensed driver who fatally struck a woman in a crosswalk Sunday told police that he kept driving after the crash because he thought he'd struck a block of ice, according to prosecutors.

Valentin Gonzalez, 27, of Corona, admitted that he drove his unregistered box truck very close to a parked car as he made a left turn from 76th Street on to Woodside Avenue, according to police.

Gonzalez said he felt the crash, but "thought he went over a large piece of ice," according to his criminal complaint. Then he looked in the rear-view mirror and saw "something laying in the road, but kept driving," according to the criminal complaint.

In fact, he had run over a woman — who has been identified by the district attorney's office but whose name DNAinfo is witholding pending family notification — and left her in the middle of the road with severe head trauma, a witness told police.

The victim was later pronounced dead at the scene by an EMT.

A witness yelled at Gonzalez to stop — then ran after him on foot, eventually catching up with the truck as it sat in traffic on 41st Avenue and 73rd Street, according to the DA's office.

The witness approached the truck and pulled Gonzalez's keys out of the ignition, telling him he'd hit someone and ordering him to stay put until the police arrived, according to the criminal complaint. The witness' identity was not released.

Gonzalez was driving without a valid driver's license and his box truck also lacked proper registration, police said.

He has been arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident, which is a felony since it involved a fatality, according to the NYPD. He was also charged under the city's new Vision Zero law for failure to yield to pedestrians, and for driving without a license.

A call to his lawyer was not immediately returned. 

On Tuesday, Sens. Michael Gianaris and Toby Ann Stavisky joined Assemblyman Franciso Moya to renew Gianaris' push for the passage of a law that would  make it a felony when a driver without a license is involved in a crash.