Zero spoken: Family of girl killed in Bushwick crash condemns mayor’s silence in aftermath

‘We cannot ignore this’: Family, pols demand justice for girl killed by hit-and-run driver in Bushwick
In memoriam: Reyna Candia, right, the mother of 4-year-old Luz Gonzalez, and her godmother Fabiola Mendieta, left, show a picture of the little girl who was killed during a hit-and-run on Sunday.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The godmother of the 4-year-old girl whom a motorist fatally ran over on a Bushwick sidewalk before driving away blasted Mayor DeBlasio for showing little remorse in the months following the tragic June hit-and-run death.

“Not a phone call, or a card to the parents saying, ‘hey, we feel sorry,’ ” said Fabiola Mendieta. “Why?”

Footage of the incident shows Jeanette Maria pull her sport-utility vehicle out of a spot in what the city later ruled an illegal parking lot outside the Clean City Laundry Center at Wyckoff Avenue and Hart Street, turn, smash head on into young Luz Gonzalez and her mother as she bent down to tie the tot’s shoe, and drive off after killing the girl and injuring her mom.

Nearly 113,000 people viewed the video since this newspaper published it the day after the June 24 crash — which spurred some grievers to erect a makeshift memorial of flowers and candles at the collision site, other mourners to stage charged demonstrations in the neighborhood, and Borough President Adams to demand “everything be done to send a clear message that it’s not tolerated to leave the scene of an accident.”

But the clip never made it to the desk of Hizzoner, who last week told a room of local reporters he had yet to see it.

“I have not,” DeBlasio said.

Cops stopped Maria — who is rumored to be related to an officer — a block away from the scene on Hart Street, but let her go, and the mayor said he withheld commenting on the cause of Gonzalez’s death because he’s waiting for prosecutors to conclude their investigation into the incident.

“The facts that I received just weren’t clear enough on what happened to know if it was something that I would speak to in such a way,” he said.

DeBlasio’s restraint, however, contradicts with his quick call to arrest the driver who earlier this year fatally struck two youngsters crossing Ninth Street at Fifth Avenue in his former neighborhood of Park Slope.

In March, the mayor told reporters he wished driver Dorothy Bruns “was under arrest right now” just days after she killed 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 1-year-old Joshua Lew — and weeks before a grand jury indicted her on charges including reckless manslaughter in May, when prosecutors claimed she knowingly ignored doctors’ orders and her history of seizures when she got behind the wheel.

The charges against Bruns followed early reports claiming she suffered an epileptic fit at the time of the crash, which also injured Blumenstein’s then-pregnant mother, acclaimed Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles, who afterwards lost her baby due to her injuries.

Hizzoner, who cameras captured leaving a bouquet at a memorial to the kids following the incident, said those first claims were enough to publicly demand justice before the district attorney’s office formally filed its charges against Bruns.

“The case in Park Slope to me was absolutely cut and dry, the driver had a medical condition that caused her at times to not be able to control her vehicle, she knew it,” DeBlasio said.

But Mendieta didn’t buy the mayor’s claim he simply didn’t see the video of Maria’s car noticeably bumping up and down as she rolled over her goddaughter before driving away — which outlets including the New York Daily News, CBS, and ABC, also published following the fatal collision.

“He had to see it,” she said. “It was all over the news.”

A rep for the mayor declined to comment further when asked on Monday if DeBlasio had since watched the video of the crash.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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