New York Daily News
Beloved pastor fatally struck after fall in street
A beloved Brooklyn pastor was fatally struck by an SUV driver after tripping and falling to the ground crossing a street, cops said Sunday.
Aracely Courtenay (photo) was crossing E. 21st St. near Ditmas Ave. in Flatbush about 7 p.m. Saturday when she stepped into a depression in the road, tripped and fell to the ground, police said.
Courtenay, 50, was then struck by a 58-year-old man driving a Toyota Highlander making a right turn onto Ditmas Ave., cops said. She suffered major head trauma.
Courtenay was a pastor and the “First Lady” at the Emmanuel Church of God, about a half-mile from the deadly crash, where her husband serves as lead pastor.
“Emmanuel Family, it is with a heavy heart, that we share with you the untimely and unexpected passing of our beloved Pastor Aracely Courtenay our
1st Lady,” the church posted on Facebook Sunday. “Your prayers are most needed at this time for God strength and as a family we will support and love on each other through this.”
Medics rushed Courtenay to Kings County Hospital but she could not be saved. She lived in Flatlands.
The SUV driver stayed on the scene. He’s not expected to face criminal charges, police said.
Courtenay had three children and developed a passion for women’s issues while doing property management work in housing for low and moderate income families, according to the church’s website.
“Her message is for women everywhere that no matter what difficulties may arise in a person’s life, the individual can rise above it,” her bio on the church’s website reads.
Her family was too distraught to comment Sunday.
The church’s Sunday service opened with a message to its congregants about Courtenay. “We come with heavy hearts because of the loss of our very own first lady,” a pastor told the mourning crowd. “So we are a church that is broken-hearted this morning. But we have hope that we will see her again.”
Courtenay once traveled to Ecuador to preach and shared with her congregants the story of her trip, where she forgot a passport and tried to gain access to the country with a passport card instead — which only allows you to cross the Mexican and Canadian borders.
She had worshipers in stitches recalling how Ecuador then put her on a no access list only to let her in the next day after she went back to New York and obtained a passport replacement.
Courtenay led her loyal congregants in prayer and Bible readings to cheers of affirmation and agreement.
“If we don’t stand for anything, we fall for anything,” she said during a sermon last year posted to YouTube.
Later Saturday night, a man in his 70s was struck and badly hurt by a Toyota Tacoma driver as he sat in the middle of an intersection in Queens.
The truck’s driver was making a left turn from Irving Ave. onto Cooper Ave. in Ridgewood at about 8:20 a.m. when he struck the man, cops said. It’s not clear if the man fell before he was struck.
The driver stayed at the scene. The victim was taken to Brookdale University Hospital with trauma to his torso.