The daughter of a Alina Morales, the 62-year-old woman killed by a driver on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn last month, is spending the holidays mourning the loss of her mother, who she said was a caring and kind woman.
“She was as sweet as they came,” said Alina Cardi, who shares her late mom’s first name. “She had her nickname ‘Sugar’ — she didn’t get that nickname for nothing.”
Morales was struck and killed on Atlantic Avenue between Third Avenue and Nevins Street in Boerum Hill on the evening of Nov. 22, when Jasen Nhambiu allegedly hit her while driving without a license.
The victim’s daughter said the death came as a shock, just days ahead of their plans to celebrate Thanksgiving.
“Due to this man’s reckless behavior, she didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with her grandchildren,” Cardi said.
Originally from the Bronx, Morales moved to Brooklyn about four years ago, but regularly helped out her four children and six grandchildren, according to Cardi.
“She was a loving mom and caring grandmother,” she said. “With COVID and having [to take care of] children, you go to the person to help with childcare but that person is no longer there.”
Nhambiu, who works as a lawyer for a hospital in the Bronx, avoided felony charges after registering below the drunk driving limit in a preliminary field breath test, but still faces traffic offenses equivalent to misdemeanors, according to a complaint filed by the Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office on Nov. 24.
He allegedly smelled of booze and slurred his speech, according to cops on the scene, but refused to submit to a more sophisticated breathalyzer after police took him to the local precinct.
He was also driving without a license and with his two sons in the car, according to authorities, and Cardi told Brooklyn Paper she believes he got off too lightly.
“I don’t feel like it’s fair that they’re trying to let him get a slap on the wrist,” she said. “Charges like that basically say it’s ok to take a life like that and it’s a misdemeanor. You altered not only my life but several of our lives.”
To cover their mother’s funeral expenses, Cardi and her siblings have launched an online fundraiser, which has already garnered more than $2,500 out of a goal of $8,000 as of Monday evening.
“We have a long way to go for us to heal and process,” she said. “We’re looking to give her a proper funeral so she can finally be laid to rest.”
This article first appeared on our sister publication, The Brooklyn Paper.