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Mother of three killed walking home

Bronx Times
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A mother of three died four days after being struck by a car steps from her Morris Park home on Thanksgiving Eve.

Maria Lucaj, 55, was crossing Williamsbridge Road at Neill Avenue at around 6 p.m on Nov. 23 when a 19-year-old driver turning left onto Williamsbridge hit her, said Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson, commanding officer at the 49th Precinct.

Lucaj rolled onto the windshield and then fell into the street, police said. The 55-year-old was transported to Jacobi Hospital, where she died on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Double green light

The driver, identified by police only as a 19-year-old female, stuck around after the collision to cooperate with authorities. She is not currently facing any criminal charges. An ongoing investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad (CIS) is likely to issue the driver a summons, said a source close to the case.

Both the driver and Lucaj were traveling with the green light at the time of the collision, Johnson said. But if the investigation finds that the driver violated state law by not “exercising due care,” she could be fined up to $750. Her license may also be suspended.

Lucaj lived with her husband and three children in a three-story home next to Enzo’s Restaurant, just a few feet away from where the collision took place. She was walking home when she was hit, a family member said. Friends of the family described Lucaj as healthy and a hard worker. Born in Eastern Europe, she came to the Bronx over 40 years ago, said a source close to the family.

A funeral service was held Wednesday afternoon.

A deadly night

Lucaj was the fifth New Yorker killed by motor vehicles in the span of only a few hours on a cold, wet Thanksgiving eve.

Two women were struck and killed on Forest Hill Road in Staten Island at around 5:30 p.m, police said. A cyclist was killed after being hit by a truck in Maspeth, Queens just before 5 p.m. In the Lower East Side, a Con Ed truck pinned an 88-year-old woman to the ground before she was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the NY Post reported.

Meanwhile, the City Council Committee on Transportation, headed by Bronx Councilman James Vacca, charged at a hearing Wednesday, Dec.4 for the NYPD to present to the Council twice a year about its hit-and-run investigations.

According to NYPD statistics, the CIS investigated 58 hit and run cases in 2012. Only 15 cases resulted in an arrest.

Ben Kochman can be reached via e-mail at BKochman@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394
Updated 4:56 pm, July 9, 2018
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