Elderly woman critical after being pinned under van - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Elderly woman critical after being pinned under van

Victor Morales Victor Morales

Police in Hartford said an 82-year-old city woman is in critical condition after a grocery store delivery van rolled over her Thursday afternoon.

Police said they were called to the area of Park and Newton streets after Maria DosSantos was hit from behind by the van, which police said was being driven by Victor Morales.

According to police, DosSantos was pinned under the van after being hit, and a forklift was needed to lift it off her so she could be taken to a local hospital.

According to police, a security camera mounted to the side of the C-Town grocery store recorded the entire incident.

They said the van was parked along the east side of the store, closer to the front door on Park Street. The van was being loaded with a delivery, and DosSantos was seen walking along on the west side of Newton Street.

When the van was loaded, Morales got into the driver's side and backed the vehicle up and along the curb and sidewalk area near the store and hit DosSantos.

The owner of C-Town, Elvis Diaz, told police he was driving the van when it hit and pinned DosSantos, but a witness contradicted that story.

The witness told police after the incident the driver got out of the van and ran into the store. That witness said they entered the story in an attempt to locate the driver, later identified as Morales, but couldn't find him.

After at least 30 minutes, police said Morales appeared and told police in Spanish that he was the driver but didn't see DosSantos when he started to back the van up.

Morales was then taken into custody and brought to the Hartford Police Department for further questioning.

Police said he waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily gave a statement detailing what he did related to the incident.

He told police he got into the van, put his seat belt on, checked his mirrors and then put the van into reverse and a few seconds later he "hit something."

He said he then got out and someone driving by said he hit DosSantos. He walked to the back of the van and immediately called for the assistant manager and called 911.

"I got an old lady here on Park Street, that just got run over by a truck at C-Town," the caller told police.

That account was verified by checking his cell phone records, however, he didn't say where he was or what he was doing when he was missing for those 30 minutes. He only told police he was "really scared" when the "cops" arrived.

"Based on the impact, the accused suspect may have had a traumatic reaction," said Hartford police Sgt. Glendaly Garcia.

Other than calling 911, police said Morales didn't do anything to help DosSantos as she was pinned and critically injured under the van.

The only identification he had was a passport from Mexico and a NCIC check of Morales showed he doesn't have a driver's license.

Police confirmed Morales is not in the United States legally and he is being interviewed by agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

DosSantos is currently listed in critical, but guarded condition and her injuries were listed as several fractures, lacerations and numerous internal injuries.

A forklift had to be brought in to move the van, so first responders could get to her.

"I heard a lot of commotion, came outside as they were putting her in the ambulance. Her face was all bloody," said Orlando Schever, of Hartford. "It's crazy to happen right in front of the job."

The corner of Park and Newton streets usually during the afternoon hours because it is where a lot of people park their vehicles. 

"Due to parking, they should change the parking because a lot of people travel through here," Schever said.

Morales was charged with reckless driving, evading responsibility, unsafe backing, operating without a license and driving on a sidewalk.

Further charges may be pending based upon a change in DosSantos' condition.

Hartford police told Eyewitness News they have had minor dealings with Morales before.

Morales was released on a promise to appear and his court appearance is July 18.

Eyewitness News talked to him on the phone today, but there was a language barrier. Morales told Eyewitness News he was doing OK.

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