The stricken former partner of slain EMT Yadira Arroyo described in Bronx court Tuesday how a routine day suddenly turned tragic when a deranged man hijacked their ambulance.
Monique Williams recalled to jurors in painful detail how she and Arroyo, a beloved 44-year-old mom of five, were driving to a call involving a pregnant woman when a passing motorist signaled to them that a man was riding on their bumper on White Plains Road about 7 p.m. March 16, 2017.
The FDNY medics pulled over to investigate, and the next thing they knew, 25-year-old suspect Jose Gonzalez had run around and hopped behind the wheel of their emergency vehicle, she said.
“I remember her screaming, ‘Oh hell, no!’ ” Williams said of Arroyo.
“I was trying to pull his hand off the steering wheel,” Williams said in the courtroom — where about 50 EMTs were in the gallery staring down Gonzalez, who was allegedly high on PCP at the time of the crime.
Gonzalez was able to kick the ambulance into gear even as he fought with the two medics, Williams said.
Another witness said the suspect then suddenly backed up the ambulance and hit a car before lurching forward into an intersection. That’s when Arroyo fell, and the emergency vehicle fatally ran her over.
Williams said she immediately noticed that she no longer heard her pal “Yadi.
“I lost sight of her,” said the former medic, who retired the day of the horror. “When we started to go forward, I felt some tumbling underneath us.”
She found Arroyo lying still on the ground.
“I ran over to her to try to get her up,” Williams said quietly. “She didn’t get up. I stayed there with her. She didn’t move no more, so I just stood there with her.”
Arroyo’s aunt, Ali Acevedo-Hernandez, later told The Post outside court that the emotional account drove her to tears.
“The thing that got to me … was when [Williams] said that she felt something tumbling under the wheels,” Acevedo-Hernandez said. “And I know it was Yadi.”
Acevedo-Hernandez — who said she had to close Arroyo’s eyes at the hospital after she died — added that she wants Gonzalez to pay for what he did.
“I see no remorse,” she said. “I don’t see any pity, I don’t see no repentance. I see nothing. I just see an empty shell of a person. He can’t even take responsibility for what he did.”
At one point during Tuesday’s trial, prosecutors displayed gruesome photo evidence of the ambulance’s blood-splattered driver’s side and smashed driver’s side headlight, prompting the crowd of EMTs there to gasp loudly.
The other witness who testified, real-estate agent Demetrius Perez, 43, said that after Arroyo was mowed down, Gonzalez got out of the ambulance and began to fight with the quickly gathering crowd.
“I remember him attempting … to throw a punch, and then the guy grabbed him and threw him to the ground,” Perez said.
Prosecutors have charged Gonzalez with first-degree manslaughter, robbery, vehicular manslaughter and operating a motor vehicle under the influence.
He was declared unfit for trial last year, but health professionals at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center reversed that decision in September.
A surveillance video recording presented by the defense has shown Gonzalez walk up to the driver’s side door, open it and climb in. But an SUV obscured Arroyo falling out before the ambulance started to move.
Louis Montalvo, an EMT who knew Arroyo for nearly two decades, told The Post on Tuesday that “Yadi’s name needs justice.”
“The city needs justice,” Montalvo said. “Her sons need justice. Her family needs justice. We need justice. And we’re not going to stop until justice is brought. We’re going to be here every day.”
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