Three people, two adults and a child, died after a car crashed into dozens of trick-or-treaters in the Bronx on Saturday afternoon, according to the New York Daily News.
One of the adults who perished in the crash was 65-year-old Louis Perez, a retired army veteran. He was out trick-or-treating with his two young granddaughters, 10-year- old Nyanna and three-year-old Jasmina Aquil. Perez was described by friend Justin Mendez as, “an incredible man,” per the New York Post.
“He’s always with his grandkids — all he does is take care of them,” Mendez told the Post.
Perez’ elder granddaughter Nyanna died in the crash, while Jasmina sustained non-life threatening injuries. The mother of the two young girls, 37-year-old Natalia Perez spoke to the Daily News about her daughter, describing her as full of life and having dreams.
“My daughter was the best daughter in the world. She never gave me any trouble. She loved to dance. She wanted to be a dancer or a Disney star. She was a beautiful, beautiful girl.”
Miriam Perez, Louis’ wife, also spoke about her late-husband, who was honored with a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. She commended him for his bravery.
“He died trying to save his granddaughters,” Perez told the Daily News. “He was a hero then and a hero now.”
In addition to Perez and Aquil, 24-year-old truck driver Kristian Leka died in the crash. A cousin who asked not to be identified told the Post that Leka, “was on the sidewalk trick-or-treating with his 9-year-old sister.”
“The car came up very fast and he pushed her out of the way. He saved her. The car hit him and he went into the wall. His head was crushed. I don’t know what caused the driver to do this.”
Greata Leka, 21, was also hurt in the crash.
The Post added that all casualties are members of two extended families. Everybody who was injured in the crash was listed in critical condition.
Not only did the crash end up in tragedy, it featured some grizzly moments, too. Witness Kristina DeJesus was walking home when the crash happened and told the Post that she saw body parts on the street, saying that one man’s legs were, “completely torn off.”
Fabio Cotza, who witnessed the scene from his nearby apartment told The Post that he was not sure if what he was seeing was part of a Halloween costume or real-life situation.
“I saw a torso on the sidewalk. I didn’t know if it was a Halloween dummy or a real person.”
As for the driver of the Dodge Charger, it has been revealed to be 57-year-old Howard Unger. Police have told The Post that Unger appears to have lost control of the car after suffering either a seizure or issues from another medical problem. He did not die in the crash and is currently being treated at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, New York and is listed under critical but stable condition.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 1, 2015
It all started at 4:50 p.m. when Unger was driving west down Morris Park Ave., near near Radcliff Ave., located in the Morris Park neighborhood. That’s when his car struck a black Toyota Camry, hit several other vehicles, and then careened onto the sidewalk. Unger’s car then went airborne and struck six pedestrians, sources told the Daily News.
After that sequence of events, the car plowed through a fence in front of a house. That’s when the car stopped and was left teetering on a brick wall.
Previously mentioned eyewitness DeJesus told The Post about the neighborhood being in shock over what transpired.
“They couldn’t believe this was happening on Halloween. There’s nothing but kids out there.”
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]