The man, reportedly Hispanic, was struck at 51st Avenue and 108th Street in Corona Queens at about 6:15 am this morning by a black SUV driver. That driver stopped after he struck the man, and another driver in a white car behind him also slowed and swerved to avoid the body that was lying on the ground.
But a dark red 1998 Chevy van that followed the white car, drove around the scene, picking up the body with parts of its car--and then unbelievably dragged the man from Corona 17 miles to Neptune Avenue and Brighton 10th Terrace in Brighton Beach.
The entire first strike--and the second--were picked up in horrific detail by a street-side video camera, and shows the man being hit, the car stopping, and the van swooping him up--and a witness who appears to see the whole incident.
Police think the driver of the van, 52-year-old Manuel Gaspar Lituma Sanchez, dragged the man onto the Grand Central Parkway, south onto the Van Wyck Expressway and then west into Brooklyn. It was not known whether the man who was struck was dead or alive while he was being dragged.
A passerby flagged down the van and called the police.
This from Channel 11 News:
The driver reportedly smelled something burning and pulled over once along the way, but did not see the body.But news reports also say that other pedestrians in Brighton tried to flag down the driver prior to his stopping, and he ignored them.
New York City Police commissioner Raymond Kelly says authorities are surveying the route, looking for any evidence and body parts that may have detached from the corpse.
The police tested the driver for alcohol, and did not ticket him.
Meanwhile, back in Corona, Queens, the first driver spoke with police and searched for a body--which no one was able to locate until police put two and two together more than an hour later.
What remains uncertain is why a witness to the original accident who saw the strike and also saw the body being carried off by the van, did not attempt to have the van stopped, instead striking his head with his hand and watching as the van whisked the man away.
It is also not clear why the driver was not aware that he was carrying additional weight, and making more noise as he drove.
The identity of the man who was struck is not known at this time, but police believe he might have been a day worker in a local construction site.