BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — An off-duty MTA bus driver was charged Tuesday afternoon after fatally striking an elderly woman and then fleeing the scene of the accident, police said.
Bell Carol, 70, was walking north on Sackman Street and crossing over Fulton Street when the driver, identified by police as Paul Roper, 48, turned east onto Fulton and hit her with the bus at about 6:14 a.m., NYPD and FDNY officials said.
"There was a lot of blood. She was broken. It was horrifying," said Jennifer Gonzalez, 50.
"Her body was in the street... There was blood everywhere," said Eli Fulton, 30, manager of nearby Fulton Lumber and Plumbing Supply.
The woman, who witnesses said went by "Freckles" and lived in a shelter one block away from the scene of the accident, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
"She was a sweet lady. She had a daughter and a granddaughter. They came to see her every day," Gonzalez said.
Officials believe Roper was returning the bus to the East New York depot, near Jamaica Avenue and Broadway, when he hit the woman.
Witnesses said that Roper stopped briefly after and then continued driving. NYPD officials confirmed that he did not remain on the scene. It was unclear if Roper knew the woman was hit.
Roper was charged on Tuesday afternoon with leaving the scene of an accident, failing to yield to a pedestrian and failing to exercise due care, police said.
"This is a terrible tragedy, and our hearts and prayers go out to all family and friends," said the head of the driver's union, TWU 100, John Samuelsen.
"We will closely follow the investigation, which is in a very early stage," he added.