Five weeks after a thrilled Hamlet Cruz-Gomez welcomed his beautiful daughter, the new dad’s devastated family is planning his funeral.
The gentle 25-year-old father was killed when a madman behind the wheel of a stolen box truck plowed into his SUV — the final and fatal wreck in a terrifying tear through Queens where the suspect bounced off dozens of cars, police and eyewitnesses said. Cruz-Gomez was headed to do some grocery shopping for his young family.
“Such a good boy did not deserve to die at the hands of a bandit, a person without a soul,” said his distraught sister-in-law Angelica Pena, sitting Wednesday in a Brooklyn apartment filled with sobbing relatives.
“Because his soul was so good … My heart is broken. I don’t know how we’re going to deal with this,” Pena said.
The dead man’s niece, speaking as the victim’s widow wept inconsolably in another room, recalled Cruz-Guzman as a generous and hardworking young man who was ecstatic over the arrival of a baby girl now left to grow up without a father.
“His girl isn’t ever going to ever really know him, and that’s sad,” said the niece, Crystal. “They were so happy, they loved each other so much. He had plans. He worked so hard for his family.”
Cruz-Gomez, a radiology technician at Montefiore Hospital, self-isolated from his pregnant wife while working during the pandemic to protect her and their unborn daughter. He returned home in time to join his wife in the delivery room, only to die barely a month after that joyous day.
“He was an angel,” said Pena, 50. “He had graduated, had a good job, was trying to get the baby ahead. And it’s so painful that a horrible person … took the life of this boy, because he really just was a boy. And left a baby and a mother alone.”
Cruz-Gomez died Tuesday at Elmhurst Hospital after the stolen truck plowed into his SUV in Middle Village around 1:15 p.m. Suspect Ramon Pena, 37, was arrested shortly after fleeing the deadly wreck, the last in a series of crashes along a wild ride that began when he sped away in the stolen truck earlier that day in Richmond Hills.
The Queens district attorney said Pena will be arraigned Wednesday on charges of manslaughter, assault, grand larceny, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.
Eyewitnesses described a terrifying scene as Pena carved a path of carnage through Queens, sideswiping dozens of cars and a motorcycle.
The victim’s niece Crystal recalled her uncle as a good-natured man who always put family first.
“It’s really tragic,” she said. “He wouldn’t argue, wouldn’t yell, nothing. He was like a puppy. He was sweet and gentle.”
With Kerry Burke