A 47-year-old man doing his job at a Bronx car wash was killed Sunday in a fatal hit-and-run, the second one in less than a year on the same block.
Felix Thomas Bontia, of Allerton, was drying off a customer’s Toyota Rav4 SUV early Sunday morning at the Speedway car wash, on Webster Avenue in Concourse Village, when the driver of a Ford Escape SUV smashed into the Toyota and pinned Bontia between the two vehicles before he collapsed to the ground.
EMS transported Bontia to Lincoln Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
Cops say the Ford driver was traveling southbound on Webster Avenue when they veered into the bus lane, where the Toyota was parked while being dried off. The force of the collision caused the Toyota to pummel into a parked Nissan Altima sedan, which was unoccupied. The Toyota driver was taken to Saint Barnabas Hospital with minor injuries, and is listed in stable condition.
The Ford SUV came to a complete stop down the block, cops say, after which the driver and a passenger fled the scene. Neither have been caught, but are being actively sought by the NYPD.
It’s the second fatal hit-and-run at Webster and East 168th in less than a year. Last June, 45-year-old rideshare driver Robert Godwin was driving westbound on Webster Avenue when another driver smashed their vehicle into his at high speed, causing a five-car pileup and trapping Godwin in his car. He later died at Lincoln Hospital, the same facility as Bontia.
The other driver fled on foot and, eight months later, the NYPD are no closer to cracking the case.
On Monday, the NYPD declined to disclose whether there exists surveillance camera footage of the crash that killed Bontia, nor make it available to amNewYork Metro when requested.
The horrific crash adds onto a gruesome President’s Day weekend on the city’s streets.
On Friday evening, 7-year-old Naadhun Dolma was fatally struck by an SUV driver who blew through a stop sign in Astoria. Later that night, a 52-year-old woman was fatally struck in Far Rockaway by an NYPD officer driving their squad SUV to an emergency call. And on Saturday, a 50-year-old woman died after falling to the roadway and being hit by an SUV driver in Flatbush.
Last week, one man died and eight others were injured after 62-year-old Weng Sor allegedly suffered a psychotic break and began deliberately plowing a U-Haul truck into pedestrians and cyclists in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Sunset Park.
A total of 257 people were killed on city streets in 2022, according to the city Department of Transportation; that’s down from 2021 levels but above lows seen in 2018. Sixteen people died in traffic collisions in the first month of 2023, according to DOT.
56 of 2022’s deaths occurred in the Bronx, tied for the most annual fatalities in 20 years in the borough, according to advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. 79 hit-and-run incidents were recorded in 2022, per NYPD data, below the 93 seen in 2021 but otherwise the highest number since the department started publishing statistics on leaving the scene of collisions in 2016. Just four of those were solved, and solve rates in communities of color continue to lag those in white neighborhoods.