BROOKLYN — Investigators probably won't charge the driver of a box truck that fatally struck an elderly man in Williamsburg and left the scene Monday afternoon, an NYPD spokesman said Tuesday morning.
Investigators spoke to the driver, whose identity wasn't immediately released, but believe the driver was unaware they'd hit and killed Rafael Nieves, 85, a longtime fixture of the neighborhood, police and neighbors said.
Nieves was crossing south over Grand Street at Lorimer Street about 1 p.m. when the westbound truck hit him and drove away, officials said.
Nieves was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital, police said.
Investigators had caught up to the driver by Monday night, but cleared him by Tuesday morning, an NYPD spokesman said.
Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Antonio Reynoso will host a rally at Grand and Lorimer streets at 10:30 a.m. to advocate for more stringent traffic safety measures and denounce the "epidemic" of hit-and-runs, a Reynoso spokesman said Tuesday morning.
In 2016, two pedestrians were injured at that intersection and one person was hit there in 2015, according to the city's Vision Zero map.
Nieves' death is the first pedestrian death at the intersection since 2009, when the map begins its records.
Nieves, who was originally from Puerto Rico, was well-known throughout the neighborhood, following a regular daily orbit to area businesses.
Those who knew him were shocked by his sudden death.
"[He was] regular, 'How you doing. How you been. How's everything,'" said Jessica Flores, 23, who works at a Key Food Nieves liked to visit.
"I guess I feel really hurt cause he was always so nice," she said. "I would never imagine it would have been him."