Family of man killed by sanitation truck in Brooklyn files $15 million lawsuit

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The family members of a man who was killed by a sanitation truck driving the wrong way down a one-way street have filed a $15 million lawsuit against the Department of Sanitation.

The crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. on October 11 near the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue and Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Authorities say the driver, 33-year-old Aaron Gilchrist, was driving west on Eastern Parkway when he made an illegal right turn onto Brooklyn Avenue. He then struck and killed 37-year-old Alberto Leal Dolores while driving the wrong way down the street.

The victim was walking eastbound in a marked crosswalk was he was struck with the front driver's side portion of the truck. The truck then traveled over the pedestrian's body, continuing northbound in the wrong direction of travel and dragging him for several feet.

Surveillance footage shows the garbage truck continuing down the street against the flow of traffic, then reversing at the intersection, before returning to the scene facing the correct direction before police arrived.

When police arrived, the sanitation truck was parked in the same direction as all the other cars on Brooklyn Avenue, as if it had been heading north when the pedestrian was hit.

Gilchrist was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, driving the wrong direction on a one-way street and failure to exercise due care, but lawyers for the family believe he should be fired and jailed.

The victim had wife and two children, ages 18 and 20, all whom live in Mexico.

Two friends of victim, the Godmother of his children and a lifelong friend, spoke with a translator, saying Leal Dolores was a nice, hardworking man who sent nearly everything he made working at a 99 Cent store to his family.

"It's very painful to have lost such a good person, a good man," Irma Perez Rodriguez said. "They are very sad. They lost their father. They don't have any emotional or financial support."

He was headed to work at the time he was killed.

The Department of Sanitation issued a statement saying the incident was an accident and they are reviewing the lawsuit. Officials say they are also going through the administrative process necessary to terminate Gilchrist's employment.

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