5-year-old killed in Queens hit and run identified, driver sought

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Friday, September 2, 2022
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A 5-year-old boy who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking with his family in Queens Thursday has been identified as Jonathan Martinez.

EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- A 5-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking with his family in Queens Thursday has been identified as Jonathan Martinez, and the manhunt for the suspected driver is intensifying.

It happened around 5:30 p.m. at 100th and McIntosh streets in East Elmhurst, where police say Martinez was crossing the street with his father and two siblings when he was struck by white Dodge Ram pickup truck that was turning.

"I see police everywhere, I see people everywhere, I see the mom crying," witness Jochy Rosario said. "I see the dad right next to the kid, crying, and the kid was just laying there blood all over the place."

His dad, Richard Martinez, described his son as a lovely, precious boy who was always smiling at school.

He said that after the incident, he picked his son up from the street and hugged him as he bled.

Martinez was rushed with severe head and torso trauma to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

The driver did not stop, but authorities say the distinctive vehicle is known in the neighborhood. He is believed to be a local resident, and police are actively looking to talk to him though he is not in custody

The pedestrians were crossing outside of an crosswalk at an unorthodox curve in the street grid where vehicles are legally directed to make what is almost a U-turn from McIntosh to 100th Street.

A growing memorial is now at the scene, and a GoFundMe page has been set up for the family to help cover funeral costs.

"Jonathan was the sweetest and brightest boy," the GoFundMe page reads. "He loved singing and dancing and worshiping the lord. He loved all Spider-Man and car toys...He was always laughing and smiling."

Police have recovered video they say suggests the driver didn't necessarily violate any traffic laws leading up to the crash, until he sped up and drove away.

"I can't imagine what it must be like, you know, holding the hand of your child, and you're walking," neighbor Cornella Carobella said. "People do speed and you have to be very careful."

The boy's father ran after the driver in a fruitless attempt to get him to stop.

"I think that person should really own up to their mistakes, because that's really messed up," Rosario said. "You just caused a whole family a lot of misery."

No arrests have been made, and the investigation ongoing.

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