WILLIAMSBURG — The truck driver who evaded arrest for four months after fatally running over and dragging cyclist Matthew von Ohlen as he was riding in a Grand Street bike lane, was fired a day before the crash for repeatedly showing up late and intoxicated to work, officials said.
Maldonado, 56, a lumberyard delivery truck driver, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in his mother's apartment on South 1st Street, and arraigned on an indictment of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Authorities had earlier identified Maldonado as their main suspect after they found the man's car in Connecticut, but were waiting for a grand jury to indict him on felony charges before making an arrest, officials said.
On July 2, Maldonado had been driving his black Chevy Camaro around 3 a.m. when he ran a red light, prosecutors said, swerved into the bike lane near Graham Avenue and struck voh Ohlen, 35, a bicyclist entrepreneur, who was on his way home to Ridgewood from his work bartending in Chinatown.
A day after the crash Maldonado left the state to go to Connecticut with his 15-year-old daughter who was visiting from Florida, family members said, which is where police later found his car.
The crash seems to be the low point in Maldonado's downward slide that began after he split up with his wife about nine years ago and moved in with his mother.
In May, a month before the collision, he was cited for drinking in public, police said.
The day before the crash, he lost his job at Certified Lumber, where he worked since 2012 dropping off construction material to job sites, for not coming to work or coming to work drunk, lumberyard payroll secretary Anna Landau said.
"It was like a cycle of not showing up and arriving under the influence," Landau said. "When he was doing his job he was great. He was just not showing up."
His mother, Irena Maldonado, 74, said he told her he went to visit his daughter in Connecticut in early July, but never mentioned the crash. When she asked him about the missing Camaro, he told her it was nothing, she said, and she left it at that.
On Tuesday morning, three investigators showed up at the mother's door to arrest her son.
He'd had remained calm and collected, so has not to worry her, she thought. But by later Tuesday morning, she began to come to terms with the gravity of the charges her son faces.
"How am I going to live with this pain, God? I can't believe this. Oh God, I'm sorry," she said in Spanish. And for Von Ohlen's family she said, "How much, how much I feel it in my soul. I am going to pray for them."
His lawyer Howard Kirsch declined to comment on the case.