A Staten Island man biking on Friday morning was killed by an unlicensed pickup truck driver, police said.
Around 8:20 a.m., Zudi Daci, 79, was biking westbound on Signs Road a couple of blocks from his home. Faustino Rebollar Garcia, 43, was driving a 2000 Ford pickup truck heading eastbound on Signs Road when he made a left onto Arlene Street, striking Daci, the NYPD said.
Daci was taken to Richmond University Medical Center with severe head trauma and succumbed to his injuries there.
The Daily News reported that Daci was a teacher and Albanian immigrant who, after weeks staying inside because of the coronavirus pandemic, had recently started biking for exercise.
“He was my idol,” Jim Lleshi, a nephew of Daci, told the Daily News on Saturday. “He was in very good shape. Very good man, never yelled at anybody. Always smiling, always in good spirits.”
Garcia stayed at the scene and was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator and failure to use due care.
“It was never my intention to hurt the man. My prayers go out to the man and his family. All I can say is I’m sorry and regretful. I wish this had never happened,” Rebollar Garcia told the Daily News, which reported that Rebollar Garcia claimed he was borrowing a friend’s truck.
The intersection where Daci was struck is known for being notoriously dangerous.
“They really need to put a traffic light here,” a resident who went by Niki told the Staten Island Advance.
NYPD said 28 pedestrians have been killed by drivers this year, compared to 45 at this point in 2019.