FDNY EMT arrested in Harlem hit-and-run

FDNY paramedics load an ambulance
FDNY EMTs on the job in Canarsie in July 2022.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

An off-duty FDNY EMT was arrested Sunday evening after fleeing the scene of a car crash in Harlem.

Police identified the EMT as Jose Cerda-Matos, 33, and charged the emergency medical technician with leaving the scene of an accident with an injury and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

The incident, the details of which remain fuzzy, occurred on the evening of Sunday, June 18, near West 129th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. Cerda-Matos and another driver reportedly were exchanging information when he opted to flee the scene for unclear reasons, according to police. He was cuffed at 6:55 pm.

A police spokesperson said that Cerda-Matos’ child was in the backseat of the car at the time of the incident. The Daily News reported it was his 11-year-old son, who was injured in the crash and later treated for his injuries.

An FDNY spokesperson did not comment on the specifics of the incident but noted that disciplinary action against Cerda-Matos is pending.

Cerda-Matos, who makes just under $102,000 in salary and benefits as an EMT according to GovSalaries, was recognized with a medal in 2021 for saving someone in cardiac arrest before they arrived at the hospital.

The NYPD recorded 16 hit-and-run incidents in the first quarter of 2023; the vast majority of them have gone unsolved. 2021 and 2022 saw 93 and 79 hit-and-run incidents respectively, the highest numbers seen since the city started publishing statistics in 2016.

On Sunday evening, just about two miles away in East Harlem, a 6-year-old boy was left fighting for his life after being struck by a moped driver near Thomas Jefferson Park. The man on the two-wheeler fled the scene. 

100 people have been killed in traffic collisions on city streets this year as of June 11, three more than at the same time last year, according to NYPD statistics.