A retired police officer, alone on Thanksgiving night, had just picked up a newspaper about a kilometer from her home in Brooklyn when she stepped into the street to get into her minivan.
A car barreled toward her, careening off another vehicle that was stopped at a red light before it fatally struck the retired officer, Yvette Molina, 56, the police said.
The driver, Michael McBean, 24, on Friday faced multiple charges after the authorities said he carved a devastating path through a stretch of the East New York neighborhood in his white Mercedes-Benz.
After his car hit Molina near the intersection of Pennsylvania and Stanley avenues at about 7:15pm, McBean sped away before crashing into the back of a Dodge minivan, setting off a chain reaction involving two other cars, the police said.
With the front of his Mercedes-Benz crumpled and its back bumper hanging off, McBean jumped out of his car and ran down the street, at one point trying to pull a person out of their car and steal the vehicle, the police said.
Chased by emergency medical workers who happened to be nearby, McBean ran from the scene, but did not get far before the police arrested him, the authorities said.
When the mayhem ended, in addition to Molina being killed, about a dozen people had minor injuries.
McBean was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, attempted robbery, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
Tests for drugs and alcohol on McBean were negative, New York Police Department spokesman Stephen Davis said.
“Obviously speed was a factor here,” Davis said, adding that investigators had not determined the exact speed.
As investigators tried to determine what led to the deadly crash, Molina’s family was left to grieve a woman they described as strong, dedicated and proud.
Molina grew up in Brooklyn, raised by strong-willed parents who emigrated from Honduras. A middle child among seven siblings, Molina was the first to be born in the US.
Molina was an officer in the New York Police Department for 25 years and patrolled the streets of Brooklyn in the 77th Precinct before taking on a more administrative role processing applications. She retired in 2008, the police said.
Molina survived breast cancer, relatives said. She was a regular churchgoer and was fond of singing gospel music, but knew all kinds of songs, said Verna McLean, a retired detective who became friends with Molina in the 77th Precinct.
“She was a very spiritual person,” McLean said.
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