Vigil for hero EMT and mother of 5
Yadira Arroyo, 44, was a 14-year veteran of the FDNY. She leaves behind five children.
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A man accused of stealing an ambulance and then driving it over a fire department medic, crushing her to death, told reporters he isn't guilty as he was escorted out of a police station Friday surrounded by angry uniformed emergency medical technicians, who hurled insults.
"I'm innocent. I didn't do nothing," said Jose Gonzalez, 25, who was set to be arraigned in a Bronx courtroom later Friday on charges including murder.In a twist, authorities said he lived on the same block as the Fire Department Emergency Medical Services technician he is accused of killing, Yadira Arroyo.
Attorney Alice Fontier, who is representing Gonzalez, said her client is severely mentally ill and didn't act deliberately.
In a twist, authorities said he lived on the same block as the Fire Department Emergency Medical Services technician he is accused of killing, Yadira Arroyo.Police said Gonzalez, who has 31 prior arrests, was high on drugs when he hopped on the back of Arroyo's ambulance as it drove through the Bronx on Thursday evening on its way to a routine medical call. He has a history of violent and erratic behavior with police, they said.
Police said Gonzalez, who has 31 prior arrests, was high on drugs when he hopped on the back of Arroyo's ambulance as it drove through the Bronx on Thursday evening on its way to a routine medical call. He has a history of violent and erratic behavior with police, they said.
The EMTs tried to stop the man when Arroyo fell and was caught beneath the wheels. She was dragged across an intersection before the vehicle came to a stop.
The deadly incident happened at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at White Plains Rd. and Watson Ave. in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
Video posted on Twitter captured both the arrest of the driver, and a scene of anguish as the second EMT kneeled, sobbing, over the body of her fallen partner.
Justin Lopez, 20, told the Daily News that he shot the video of the episode as his brother was driving.
"I was coming from the street, up to the red light and I just saw the ambulance, the sirens, and lights, and I told my brother `Look something's happening,' and then somebody just hopped in, and then he hit two cars and ran over the person," he said. "I realized he was hijacking the car."
The EMTs of Station 26 were taken to Jacobi Hospital where Arroyo died. Her female EMT partner was being treated for shock and had minor injuries.
An off-duty MTA officer happened to be passing the incident as it took place and stepped in to subdue the suspect with the help of a civilian. The NYPD arrived and arrested him.
Gonzales is being charged wit three counts of murder, grand larceny and operating a motor vehicle while impaired on drugs.
Arroyo is the eighth member of the city's EMS to die in the line of duty.
"A senseless act of violence takes her life," Mayor de Blasio said.
With the Associated Press