By Patrick Reilly | March 8, 2023
The man accused of killing an FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo in 2017 after he ran her over in her own ambulance was found guilty of murder on Wednesday.
“This case has dragged on for nearly six long years, but finally we can breathe knowing that justice for our EMT sister, Yadira Arroyo, has been served,” FDNY EMS Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay told The Post in a statement. “The outcry of support and love for her family has been massive and at last, they can rest.”
Arroyo, a beloved 44-year-old mother of five, was en route to an emergency when a man who had just been robbed by Gonzalez motioned to the ambulance that someone was riding on the back as it drove down White Plains Road about 7 p.m. on March 16, 2017.
When Arroyo and her partner Monique Williams pulled over to investigate, Gonzalez ran around and hopped behind the wheel of the emergency vehicle, Williams testified during the trial.
He fought back the two medics as they tried to get him out of the driver’s seat and was able to kick the ambulance into gear even as he tussled with them, Williams said.
Witnesses said Gonzalez then suddenly backed up the ambulance, striking Arroyo and running her over, crushing her body as he hit a car before lurching forward into an intersection.
Arroyo, an FDNY EMT for 14 years, later died from her injuries at the hospital.
An off-duty MTA police officer was nearby and saw the defendant drag Arroyo before crashing into a snow bank, prosecutors said. When Gonzalez tried to flee, the officer tackled the defendant and handcuffed him, with the help of several civilians.
Gonzalez, 31, was initially declared unfit for trial, but health professionals at Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center reversed that decision in September, paving the way for him to stand trial on first-degree murder charges. He pleaded not guilty when he was indicted.
A surveillance video recording presented by the defense showed 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.
“The road to justice for Yadi was tortuous; this case was delayed because of numerous hearings regarding the defendant’s fitness to stand trial, but her family and FDNY colleagues were patient and steadfast from the beginning until today’s verdict,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement following the verdict.
“I thank the witnesses, who saw Yadi in her final moments, for their testimonies during the trial. Yadi lives on in the legacy of her children, and in the countless New Yorkers she assisted in their time of need.”
Gonzalez, who had 31 prior arrests on his record, faces 25 years to life in prison. He is set to be sentenced April 5.
In May 2021, city officials dedicated a Bronx park to the fallen EMT in Union Port.