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Hit-And-Run Victim Struck by Three Cars

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NEW YORK (AP) - The black car hit her first, striking Natalie Guzman as she tried to cross a Queens street to buy a bag of potato chips. The 18-year-old managed to get to her feet before she was hit again, by a white car.

About four minutes later, her friends dove for cover as a black sport utility vehicle hurtled through the 30 mph zone at an estimated 80 mph.

Guzman, who could not move, was killed instantly.

Police searched for the three hit-and-run drivers Wednesday in the kind of crime that tends to reinforce New Yorkers' reputation as a cold-hearted lot.

City Councilman Eric Gioia said the case reminded him of that of Kitty Genovese, who was killed on a Queens street in 1964 while dozens of people watched from their windows and did nothing.

``It shocks the conscience that three separate people would be so callous as to mow someone down and just keep on going,'' Gioia said.

Guzman's family contended that she was intentionally killed, saying she had feared for her life since a bar fight two weeks earlier.

``The family thinks her death may have something to do with that fight,'' said neighbor Olimpia Urena, who acted as a translator for Guzman's mother and aunt. The family came from the Dominican Republic.

Police said only that they are still investigating all possibilities and looking into whether the drivers even knew they had hit someone.

Guzman's life ended Sunday morning, shortly after she left Los Primos Tournament Billiards on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens, a heavily Hispanic neighborhood about two blocks from the one-bedroom apartment she shared with her 15-month-old daughter, Laritza, and her mother, Miriam Toribio. This stretch of Roosevelt Avenue is home to several bars and social clubs.

Urena said Guzman dropped out of high school after becoming pregnant but had recently decided to get her life back on track.

``She said she wanted to make her life normal, she wanted to do something with her life,'' Urena said. ``She was studying to get her GED and after that, she planned to go to LaGuardia Community College.''

Guzman even had a job interview to sell cosmetics lined up this week, Urena added.

``She was a very friendly girl, very helpful,'' Urena said. ``If she saw me with my shopping bags, she would always help me. She didn't deserve what happened to her.''

A witness told police that Guzman had left the pool hall to go to a bodega across the street.

The first car, traveling at about 60 to 70 mph, struck Guzman as she attempted to cross the two-lane street, which runs underneath the elevated subway tracks and has cars parked along the sides of the road, the witness said.

The second car was also going about 60 to 70 mph, the witness said.

As Guzman lay in the street, her friends discovered her and tried to help. They told police they believed she was still breathing. Then the SUV came barreling toward them.

Urena said Guzman's family finds it hard to believe that three people could run over her, and none of them would stop.

That is so awful.
post #2 of 5
that's so terrible. How can three cars hit someone and no one stop? I hope the police find them and haul them off to prison
post #3 of 5
How horrible!. How can they live with that on their minds,as if nothing happened?!.

post #4 of 5
How could all three cars have hit her and not noticed? I mean, at the very least the SUV driver must have seen her friends. And why were they driving 60 - 70 m.p.h. on a city street?
post #5 of 5
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