Wife of Ecuadorean dragged wants justice

February 13, 2009 9:39:28 PM PST
The wife of the Ecuadorean man hit by a car, trapped under a van and dragged for nearly 20 miles through New York City is demanding justice for her husband's death. "It's not fair that my husband died there as if he were an animal," said Sonia Solorzano, wife of Guido Salvador Carabajo-Jara, an Ecuadorean immigrant killed in a gruesome car accident in New York on Wednesday.

"I don't want (his death) to go unpunished. I want justice," Solorzano told Ecuavisa TV on Friday from her home in the southern Ecuadorean province of Canar.

New York police have said the death was accidental and that they have no plans to charge the two drivers, who both have clean driving records.

Solorzano did not say if the family plans to file a lawsuit. Carabajo-Jara's sister said the family will need financial aid from the Ecuadorean government just to repatriate the body.

Ecuador provides money to the families of deceased citizens abroad for repatriation and legal fees through its national migrant secretary's office. The office says it is already in contact with Carabajo-Jara's family.

Carabajo-Jara was on his way to work laying tile in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning when he was hit by an SUV while apparently crossing against the light on a busy street. He was then impaled by a steel plate on the underside of a second vehicle, a van, and dragged nearly 20 miles to Brooklyn.

The first driver, Gustavo Acosta, called the police, who arrived to find the victim gone. The second driver, Manuel Lituma Sanchez, suspected something was wrong, even pulling over once to check under the hood, but did not find the body until he was alerted by a pedestrian nearly an hour later. Finding the body, he called the authorities.

Carabajo-Jara was living with his cousin and sister in an apartment in Queens, and relatives say he faithfully sent money back to his wife, mother and 4-year-old daughter in Ecuador.

Relative Ignacio Quintero described Carabajo-Jara as a hard worker whose mission was to provide for his child and save enough money to build a home in Ecuador. He turned 26 the day before the accident.

It was the third highly publicized death of an Ecuadorean immigrant in New York in a little more than three months.

Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay, a 31-year-old real estate agent, was walking arm in arm with his brother in Brooklyn in December when he was beaten to death in an apparent hate crime by assailants who shouted anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs.

That killing followed the death on Long Island of Marcelo Lucero, 37, an Ecuadorean immigrant who was fatally stabbed Nov. 8.