New York Daily News
Dad ‘was everything to us’
Struck dead by truck while riding e-scooter in E. Village
A hard-working father of two was fatally struck by a truck in the East Village as he rode to work on an electric scooter, police said Sunday.
Joseph Bellaflores, 43, was going west on E. Houston St. a few minutes before 8 a.m. Saturday when the driver of a Ford E350 van truck going the opposite direction made a left turn onto Lafayette St., cops said.
Bellaflores lost control and fell off his scooter, then slid under the passenger side of the truck, which struck him with its rear tires, cops said. The victim, who suffered traumatic head injuries, went to Bellevue Hospital but could not be saved.
“He was on his way to work. He was only two blocks away,” said his devastated long-time girlfriend, Jacqueline Roman, 41. “They said he didn’t have a heartbeat when EMS arrived. They tried to resuscitate him but it was unsuccessful.”
The truck’s driver, a 47-year-old man, stayed at the scene. Police are still investigating the crash.
Bellaflores worked as a porter at a building on Thompson St. and got the scooter in November. He was struck a half mile from his East Village home.
“He was gifting himself,” Roman said. “He had a moped before. He ended up selling it . ... He got around the city on his scooter. It was his main way to get around the city because there’s no parking in NYC, so that was useful to him.”
Roman said she never worried about him because he rode it carefully. In a fluke, Bellaflores decided to wear a baseball cap instead of a helmet when he went out Saturday morning, she said.
“He didn’t want to wear it. He just said that he was just going to work and he put on his baseball cap and went out,” Roman said. “What are the odds? He always wears it and the one time he doesn’t ... what are the odds? It’s unimaginable.”
Even so, she said, police told her a helmet likely would not have saved him.
Roman said she and Bellaflores have been together for 19 years and were planning to get married. They have two sons together, ages 12 and 7.
“They are taking it pretty hard. My big one took it pretty hard. He played soccer yesterday and he really wanted to play because he wanted to win for his dad. And he did,” she said.
Roman called Bellaflores an amazing father.
“It was just all about being home and with his family. We were never second to anybody. He loved his video games, too. He was big fan of remote controlled cars,” she said. “He would play ‘Fortnite’ and ‘FIFA’ with his kids.”
Bellaflores was devoted to his sons, she said.
“He was caring. He was protective. Just so much love. He was honest, he was true. Everything about him was real and genuine. It’s a big loss for anybody that knew him. He was everything to us.”
Roman said she got a call from one of his co-workers the morning of the crash when he didn’t show up at work. So she checked the Citizen app and saw a report of a crash where a pedestrian was struck along his route to work.
“I assumed that it had to be him and started calling hospitals,” she said.
“Police soon called me and told me to go straight to the hospital . ... I wanted to know if there was a sign of life. The officers said they unfortunately couldn’t tell me and just to go straight to the hospital.”
Roman said police told her the truck’s driver wasn’t speeding, but she still questioned whether he was paying attention at the wheel.
“The scooter is big enough to where you have to see it,” she said. “I don’t know what he was doing. Maybe he was distracted. I don’t know, because for you not to see this big scooter and a man on it, it bugs me out. Just look twice or three times. You’re in a car. There’s no rush just wait and be sure before making that turn.”
She added, “We just miss him and love him and wish he was here with us. We hope he is with us in spirit.”