Man pleads not guilty to murder charge of pregnant mom intentionally run down outside 7-Eleven in Rockland County

HAVERSTRAW, Rockland County (WABC) -- A Washingtonville man plead not guilty at his arraignment Friday in the Rockland County murder case that killed a mother of six.

Police say 35-year-old Jason Mendez crashed his vehicle into a family of eight, including children ages 11 months to 10-years-old in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in Garnerville.

The 32-year-old mother, Melissa Castillo DeLoatch, later died at the hospital. Family members say she threw herself in front of a stroller, and it was revealed Thursday that she was pregnant with her seventh child.

Police believe an argument between the family and the driver, identified Mendez may have precipitated the 2 p.m. attack in the parking lot along Central Highway in Haverstraw.

A 7-Eleven employee told Eyewitness News that Mendez was smoking outside the store and became enraged when the father asked him not to smoke around the kids.

An argument ensued, which the worker says came to an end when Mendez got into his car and plowed into the 7-Eleven, striking all eight family members.

Mendez faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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