The Bronx mourns the loss of an exemplary Emergency Medical Technician killed last week in Soundview.
According to police, on Thursday, March 16 at 7:08 p.m., 43rd Precinct officers discovered an unconscious and unresponsive on-duty FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo, 44, lying in the intersection of White Plains Road and Watson Avenue with severe bodily trauma.
Arroyo’s partner, Monique Williams, 30, also sustained injuries to her neck and shoulder.
The NYPD Highway District’s Collision Investigation Squad determined Arroyo and Williams’ 2008 FDNY ambulance was traveling southbound on White Plains Road approaching Watson Avenue before being flagged down by pedestrians.
Arroyo and Williams parked and exited the vehicle at the northwest corner of White Plains Road and Watson Avenue after learning a man was joyriding on their rear bumper.
The suspect, Jose Gonzalez, 25, a 2388 Creston Avenue resident, suddenly came from behind the ambulance and entered its driver’s side.
The EMTs tried preventing Gonzalez, who was allegedly high on drugs, from hijacking their vehicle, but to no avail.
Gonzalez placed the ambulance in reverse knocking Arroyo, who was on the driver’s side, to the ground before running her over.
He proceeded in reverse northbound on White Plains Road striking two occupied vehicles, a 2014 Honda Pilot and 2007 Toyota Camry. The occupants were unharmed.
Gonzalez then struck a parked, unoccupied 1997 Lincoln Towncar before driving toward Watson Avenue, subsequently dragging Arroyo into the intersection.
As Gonzalez attempted to turn left onto Watson Avenue, the ambulance struck two more parked cars, a 2007 Infiniti G35 and a 2000 Kia Sportage, before coming to a halt at the corner.
He attempted to flee on foot, but was tackled and apprehended by on-duty MTA K9 officer Dan McCade.
Additional EMS responded to the scene and transported the wounded EMTs to Jacobi Hospital.
Arroyo was pronounced deceased that evening while Williams, in stable condition, was released.
Gonzalez was arrested and charged with first and second degree murder, manslaughter, grand larceny and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs.
A NYPD spokesman confirmed Gonzalez has 31 prior arrests including criminal possession and sale of marijuana, assault, criminal mischief, public lewdness and turnstile jumping.
Arroyo, a 14-year veteran and mother of five, was employed with FDNY EMS Station 26 in Morrisania.
“This is a woman, a mother of five, who dedicated her life in serving the community. Knowing Yadira was out there gave us peace and understanding that the right thing was going to be done every single time,” stated captain Joseph Jefferson of Station 26. “The care and compassion she displayed every time she touched a patient it was like they were her family. She cannot be replaced.”
Arroyo is the eighth FDNY EMS member to die in the line of the duty and the 1,146th member to make the supreme sacrifice.
“This is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with the entire EMS family as well as Arroyo and Williams, their families and friends during this difficult time,” expressed Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
A day after the tragedy, FDNY members honored Arroyo with a banner as they marched in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan.
Arroyo will be waked on Friday, March 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home on 726 Morris Park Avenue.
Her funeral Mass is Saturday, March 25 at 11 a.m. at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church on 2345 University Avenue.
The FDNY Foundation has established the ‘EMT Yadira Arroyo’s Children’s Fund’.
If interested in donating, visit www.fdnyf