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Funeral for Slain EMT Yadira Arroyo Scheduled for Saturday

By Noah Hurowitz | March 18, 2017 10:07pm | Updated on March 20, 2017 8:13am
 Yadira Arroyo, 44, was run over by Jose Gonzalez who stole her ambulance while on drugs, police said.
Yadira Arroyo, 44, was run over by Jose Gonzalez who stole her ambulance while on drugs, police said.
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THE BRONX — Funeral details have been announced for the FDNY medic and mother of five who was fatally hit by a man high on drugs who stole her ambulance in The Bronx last week.

Two days of visitations have been scheduled for Yadira Arroyo, 44, who died in The Bronx when a man with a history of mental illness got into the driver's seat of her ambulance and reversed into her, according to police. They will take place at the Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home at 726 Morris Park Ave. on March 23 and March 24, FDNY officials said. On both days, mourners can come between 2 and 4 p.m. and again between 7 and 9 p.m., officials said.

Arroyo's funeral will be held March 25 at 11 a.m. at St. Nicholas of Tolentine R.C. Church at 2345 University Ave., officials said.

Arroyo is survived by five children, a fiancé, a sister and five brothers, according to her brother, Joel Rosado.

Several non-profit groups are also raising money for Arroyo's family: The FDNY Foundation and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation have begun campaigns to help Arroyo's family.

Those looking to donate to the FDNY Foundation can do so on the group’s website by selecting the EMT Yadira Arroyo’s Children Fund, and the Siller Foundation is crowdfunding on the website CrowdRise.

She was working overtime on Thursday when she and her partner stopped to intervene as Jose Gonzalez, 25, tried to steal a teenage boy’s backpack, police said.

Gonzalez, who lived at a shelter on the same block as Arroyo, and who police said had a history of mental health issues, leaped into the open driver's side of the ambulance and reversed, fatally striking Arroyo and injuring her partner.

The funeral details emerged as additional history of Gonzalez's mental instability came to light. Multiple outlets obtained video of a Feb. 25 incident in which he kicked out an NYPD van's window after being arrested — and then hurled profanities at the officers nearby.

Gonzalez's father, Jose Gonzalez Sr., said his son suffered from bipolar disorder and that he had been trying to get him help, to no avail.

“I tried to get him mandated counseling by the courts, but they closed the door in my face,” Gonzalez Sr. told CBS2.

Arroyo, who worked out of Station 26 in Morrisania, is the eighth FDNY EMT to die in the line of duty, and the third woman, Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. 

Gonzalez was arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court Friday afternoon on first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter and robbery charges.

Friends and family members of Arroyo remembered her as a hard worker and devoted mother who was always willing to help a neighbor in need and was quick with a smile.

She lived in the same tight-knit building as her half-brother, and everyone coming and going from the building on Friday seemed to be affected by her death, with some neighbors crying or becoming too emotional to speak with reporters.

“She was just a lovely person,” said Liz Perez, whose husband is the superintendent of the building and who knew Arroyo for about five years. “She would give you the shirt off your back. It's just so awful."

Ernest Watson, 67, said he had known Arroyo since she was 12, and had watched her grow up from a bright young girl into a strong, dedicated mother of five boys who had raised her sons right.

“She was always a sweetheart, always had a smile,” Watson said. ”Her sons were very respectful. You would see her going out working hard, but she would always wave."