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BMW driver charged years after he allegedly killed off-duty correction officer, Good Samaritan in NYC crash: NYPD

A BMW driver was finally charged five years after he allegedly killed a Good Samaritan and another motorist – a New York City Correction officer – in a chain-reaction crash on a Bronx expressway, cops said.

Anyelo Velez Rodriguez, 33, was arrested Tuesday and slapped with manslaughter charges for allegedly slamming his BMW into a Cross Bronx Expressway pileup that killed pedestrian Jaquan Cesar and motorist Richard Lue on Feb. 11, 2019 at around 1:15 a.m., the NYPD said.

Velez Rodriguez, who also faces a criminally negligent homicide rap, remained at the scene after the smash-up, cops said.

“It took so long for this man to be indicted and arrested,”  his aunt Maggie Jean-Francois told The Post in a Wednesday phone interview. “And as a family, we are relieved that somebody is being held accountable. Because, you know, he was loved by his family. He was an important person to his family. And he wasn’t forgotten.”

Cesar, 28, was on his way to see his then-1-year-old son Yasir and girlfriend when he witnessed a 2015 Mercedes Benz striking a 2012 GMC from behind on the westbound Cross Bronx near Webster Avenue, according to authorities and his family.

Jaquan Cesar, 28, was killed when he stepped out of his car to help after another collision on the Cross Bronx Expressway, police said. Family handout
Jaquan Cesar, 28, was killed when he stepped out of his car to help after another collision on the Cross Bronx Expressway, police said. Family handout

Cesar stepped out of the vehicle to help but moments later Velez Rodriguez hit the Mercedes from behind – flinging Cesar, over the barrier and into the eastbound lanes, where he was hit by a hit-and-run driver, police said.

Cesar worked at a clinic in Flushing as a dialysis technician for those suffering from end-stage renal disease, his aunt Maggue Jean-Francois told The Post after the tragedy.

“It’s hard to process that he died the way he did, but he died helping someone and that’s what he did every day when he went to work,” said Cesar’s aunt, who raised him and his two younger brothers, after his mother died from Graves’ disease when she was 28.

“In dialysis we deal with blood every day, and we know how to stop bleeding,” Jean-Francois added. “I know that’s what he thought he was gonna do — to go in and help.”

Jean-Francois said Wednesday that Yasir, now 6, is too young to know what happened to his dad but “he just knows who his father is and that he can’t see his father because he was taken away.”

“[He knows] his father is in heaven,” she added. “When he gets older again, we’ll be able to, you know, tell him, you know, the story when he’s ready.”

Jaquan’s uncle, Georges Cesar, said Wednesday that he’d always remember his nephew’s “sense of humor” and caring nature.

“He was willing to talk to anybody about anything. [He was] approachable. He was charismatic,” his uncle recalled. “When he comes in a room he’s always smiling, he’s always upbeat, he’s always trying to uplift people. Even giving you tips on health stuff…or new things to do to better [for] yourself.”

Velez Rodriguez also rear-ended a 2018 Honda with 22-year-old Richard Lue – who had served as a City Correction officer for just over a year – behind the wheel, authorities said.

Cesar, of Beacon, N.Y, was on his way to visit his then-1-year-old son Yasir and girlfriend, his aunt told The Post at the time. FAMILY PHOTO
Cesar, of Beacon, N.Y, was on his way to visit his then-1-year-old son Yasir and girlfriend, his aunt told The Post at the time. FAMILY PHOTO
BMW driver Anyelo Velez Rodriguez, 33, was arrested Tuesday — five years after the chain reaction crash that killed two men, cops said. Robert Mecea
BMW driver Anyelo Velez Rodriguez, 33, was arrested Tuesday — five years after the chain reaction crash that killed two men, cops said. Robert Mecea
Velez Rodriguez was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, authorities said. Robert Mecea
Velez Rodriguez was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, authorities said. Robert Mecea

“It does give us some type of relief that someone’s been caught for this tragedy,” Lue’s older brother, Michael, said in a phone interview. “It gives some closure for all of us, my family.”

“It opened old wounds but again we’re happy that we weren’t forgotten about, Richard wasn’t forgotten about,” he added.

Lue – one of six siblings – played on the basketball team for the Department of Correction, his brother said.

“Rich was always the life of the party. Always a positive person,” his brother recalled. He’s very caring towards others. You know, he’s definitely an athlete. He’s a better athlete than me. He loves basketball [and] teaching … he probably told me how to shoot a hoop once or twice. Yeah, he’s definitely my best friend.”

“Me and my family were proud of my brother,” he added. “We’re very sad. His life was taken at such a young age. We miss and love him.”

Velez Rodriguez is also accused of striking a tractor-trailer that fled the scene, police said.

Cesar was pronounced dead at the scene, and 22-year-old Lue was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he too succumbed to his injuries, according to cops.

The Mercedes driver, a 24-year-old woman who was not arrested, suffered a minor arm injury.

Velez Rodriguez, of the Morris Heights section of the Bronx, was also charged with criminally negligent homicide, authorities said. His arraignment was pending Wednesday.