Doohee Cho was a 33-year-old loving boyfriend and loyal friend, remembered as being both funny and warm. And nearly two days after he was killed in a hit-and-run right outside his home near Union Square, police finally caught his suspected killer Tuesday.
Cho, a vice president at GE Capital with a prominent future and a love for college football, would go out of his way for friends, said his girlfriend, Jen Kosakowski, 33.
But Sunday, as he crossed the street near his home on Fifth Avenue about 3:15 a.m., Cho was struck by a white sedan driving south, police said.
He suffered severe head trauma and was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead.
On Tuesday, Police arrested Macgyver Beltran, 25, and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in Cho’s death.
“It doesn’t fill the gap, but it helps to know that there will be some justice served. At least legally,” Kosakowski said.
Beltran, who lives in Brooklyn, allegedly struck Cho in the middle of the block between 15th and 16th streets, police said.
Surveillance video taken near the scene showed a white car rounding a corner very fast and Beltran was ultimately located through a tip, police said.
Beltran was awaiting arraignment Tuesday evening and could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if he had retained an attorney.
Cho’s death is one more in a series of pedestrians killed in traffic incidents this year. As of Monday, 95 pedestrians and 17 cyclists were fatally struck by vehicles, according to police statistics. While Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the idea of “Vision Zero” a rallying cry, he has yet to succeed in completely stemming these deaths.
“I understand how difficult it is,” de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference on Monday. “But, unlike some other problems we face, this one really comes down to individual behavior — and changeable behavior — in a much more profound way.”
For her part, Kosakowski remembered her movie-like romance with Cho: from their meeting in elementary school to their 28-year-long friendship.
The pair attended college at Rutgers University together, she said.
“We always had feelings for each other and we were always afraid to say something,” she said outside his apartment building where she had planned on moving in soon. “About a year ago we finally admitted our feelings for each other and we’ve been together ever since.
“Even if I just had it for a year it was really wonderful,” Kosakowski added.
The couple had tickets for Saturday’s Rutgers game, she said.
“Doohee was a big fan of the Scarlet Knights,” Kosakowski said. “He had season tickets. He was at all the games.”
But most of all, she would remember Cho as “a wonderful person” who would do anything for a friend. The Bayonne, New Jersey, native once flew across the country to help Kosakowski, who was then just a friend, through a hard time.
“Doohee was constantly somebody who would give advice, he would pick people up,” she said.
Cho’s parents and younger brother laid candles on Tuesday near where he was struck. Now, Kosakowski said she just hopes some sort of justice is served.
“He’ll pay for what he did,” she said. “There’s relief in that; a little.”