Son speaks after 81-year-old mom killed in Brentwood hit and run

BRENTWOOD, Long Island (WABC) -- An elderly woman was fatally struck in an apparent hit-and-run in Brentwood Thursday morning.

Authorities say 81-year-old Maria Carmelina Arroba Gavilanez was walking on Ferris Avenue near the intersection of O'Rourke Street when she was struck by a vehicle that fled the scene at approximately 7:15 a.m. The vehicle, possibly light in color, fled eastbound on O'Rourke Street.

Gavilanez, who is from Ecuador and was visiting family in Brentwood, was pronounced dead by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

"It happened right in the stop sign, I can't believe it," the victim's son, Nelson Palomino said. "I don't have my mother anymore. My mother passed away today."

Police say she was killed instantly, less than half a block where she had been staying.

"Did not stop, run the stop sign," Palomino said. "And my mother is dead right there."

Neighbors were shocked and horrified.

"When I looked out the door, there was the lady lying on the ground," Jasmine Rivera said. "Her dead body, and there was whole bunch of police officers."

Eileen Lorusso and other neighbors say drivers regularly speed through the area.

"It's terrible, it really is," she said. "You know that's what they do, just speed. They don't care about one another."

And an additional concern, they say, is that there are children are walking to bus stops around the time of this accident.

"I seen a lot of children on the way to school when I was on the way to get coffee," Chris Jepko said. "I was hoping it wasn't children, but even anyone, it's sad."

And the fact that the driver didn't even stop was just as troubling.

"It's a tragedy, and again, the fact that someone could actually hit and then run," Daryl Lester said. "That's something I'm very concerned about."

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
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