Over 500 family, friends, and community members filled the street to mourn the victims of the fatal car crash that happened on Halloween. A section of Morris Park Avenue, from Bogart Avenue to Fowler Avenue, was blocked off by the NYPD to traffic for the candlelight vigil.
Louis Perez, 65, and his granddaughter, Nyanna Aquil, 10, were trick-or-treating on Saturday night when a Dodge Charger careened off the road on Bogart Avenue and Morris Park Avenue before hitting the group. Louis was able to push his other granddaughters, Sanaya, 8, and Yasmina, 3, out of the car’s way.
“He was an amazing man who helped raise my children with love.” said Natalya Perez when describing her father, Louis Perez. “I know I probably look very stoic to some people,” she said with her arm around her daughters. “I have moments, when I cry, trust me, I do. But I know I have to be strong. I have two younger daughters, who need a strong mother in their lives. They still have a long life to live, and that’s what I’m focused on right now.”
The driver of the Dodge Charger, Howard Unger, 52, is believed to have suffered a seizure while driving said law enforcement officials. Shirley Unger, Unger’s mother, said that he did not have a history of seizures or other medical issues. Unger is hospitalized in stable condition. Detectives are still investigating the case.
Kristian Leka, 24, was also fatally struck when he was out with his younger sister, Fiona, 10. Family members of Leka said that he and his sister were, “inseparable, very close” and that he saved his sister by pushing her out of the way. Fiona suffered a broken arm. Also with them was Greta Luka, who suffered minor injuries. Leka and Luka were recently engaged.
In between yellow police tape, twisted metal fencing, and broken brick laid teddy bears, flowers, and pictures. Parents hugged their children as silent prayers were said and candles lit to memorialize the victims. News of this tragedy has not only affected Morris Park residents. “I saw a Manhattan bus driver stop his bus on Morris Park and ask people to place a teddy bear on the memorial for him.” said community resident, Debby Kawalick.