Monsey,NY As first reported on Monday Afternoon, the four pedestrians that were struck by a car on route 59 is now officially being labeled as a road rage incident by police.
Ramapo Interim Supervisor Yitzchok Ullman said Tuesday, the 62 year old driver Alberto Gomez drove on the shoulder of Route 59 chasing a taxi driver whom he said had cut him off.
Ullman, said the 62-year-old Spring Valley driver, Albert Gomez, went after the cabbie, hitting a mother and her three children walking along the shoulder near Robert Pitt Drive.
“This was road rage,” Ullman said, his voice emotional. “The taxi driver supposedly cut this guy off. He got upset and threw something at the cab. He then drove on the right shoulder to pass him. He didn’t see the family.”
“This was not an accident,” Ullman said. “That’s the reason for the serious charges.”
Sources have insisted this was not just road rage but a driver who clearly saw pedestrians walking and purposely running them over after being upset by an alleged Jewish taxi driver that was driving recklessly.
The mother, 38, and her two daughters — ages 13 and 9 — are still recovering according to friends of the victims.
Ramapo police Capt. Martin Reilly said the investigation was continuing.
“The guy was operating the vehicle recklessly and went around the taxi cab on the right and ran into the mother and three children.” Reilly said.
Detective Sgt. Brian Corbett said Monday night that additional charges were pending.
Gomez remained in the Rockland County jail Tuesday on $150,000 bail set at his arraignment in Ramapo Town Court. There is still a possibility of vehicular manslaughter charges if there are any deaths related to the road rage incident.
Police said Monday that Gomez was driving a 1999 Toyota Corolla westbound at 2:47 p.m. near the Town Square Mall when he struck the family.
The incident has renewed calls for state intervention to build sidewalks along Route 59, especially near the heavily traveled commercial district near Robert Pitt Drive.
The New York State Department of Transportation recommended adding sidewalks, more crosswalks, and other safety measures in a March 2016 study.
“Here we are in June 2017 more than a year later and still no sidewalks and I think this is a recklessness on behalf of the state,” Gestetner told CBS2 news on Tuesday afternoon. “They need to step in and step up right away.”
That study showed 716 accidents on Route 59 in Ramapo over three years — 26 involving pedestrians.
In the wake of the crash Monday, the DOT says it will make temporary safety upgrades immediately and confirms it will finally install sidewalks.
On Wednesday, Ramapo police officers will be out along Route 59 ticketing both drivers and pedestrians who disobey the law.