Police say they have nabbed the drunk truck driver who mowed down a 90-year-old man crossing Metropolitan Avenue on Thursday morning and left him for dead.
Bushwick resident Hernan Diaz, 47, was driving his white Chevrolet truck westbound on Metropolitan Street at 11:30 am, when he struck the elderly pedestrian at the intersection of Orient Avenue, cops said.
Diaz didn’t stop to check on the victim, police said, and kept on trucking — unit a witness followed the suspect in his own car, called 911, and flagged him down.
Police pulled Diaz over at Lorimer Street and Meeker Avenue a few minutes later and took him into custody, where his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, police said.
Diaz was charged with vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, and drinking under the influence of alcohol, and faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison if convicted.
The victim remains in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, recovering from severe trauma.
Metropolitan Avenue is a truck route that can be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.
Last month, cyclist Mathieu Lefevre was rear-ended and killed by a truck in a hit-and-run on nearby Morgan Avenue.
And in September, cyclist Erica Abbot was run over and killed by a car when she fell off her bike on Bushwick Avenue, a block from Metropolitan Avenue.
Police found no criminality in either case.
Neighborhood activists have been urging the city to adopt several safety measures to slow down traffic in East Williamsburg including adding more traffic lights, stop signs and speed bumps.
“It’s an industrial area — it’s hard for trucks to see pedestrians and trucks can’t stop on a dime as easily as a car can because of the load,” said Williamsburg resident Eric Bruzaitis. “And for senior citizens who live in that area, it’s intimidating to cross the street if they see lots of trucks.”
Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.