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Man sentenced to life in death of NYC ambulance driver

Apr 26, 2023, 12:39 PM

FILE - In this photo provided by the New York City Mayor's Office, pallbearers from the New York Ci...

FILE - In this photo provided by the New York City Mayor's Office, pallbearers from the New York City Fire Department carry the casket of fallen FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo into St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, in the Bronx borough of New York, March 25, 2017. Jose Gonzalez, convicted of murder in the death of Arroyo when he ran over her with her own ambulance in 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in New York. (Michael Appleton/New York City Mayor's Office via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Michael Appleton/New York City Mayor's Office via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A 31-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Wednesday for killing a New York City emergency medical technician by running her over with her own ambulance.

Jose Gonzalez was convicted of first-degree murder last month in the March 2017 murder of Yadira Arroyo, a 14-year Fire Department veteran and mother of five, in the Bronx.

Prosecutors said the fatal encounter started when Gonzalez grabbed the back of Arroyo’s ambulance and rode on it, then jumped off and stole a man’s backpack.

The robbery victim flagged down the ambulance and Arroyo got out and spoke briefly to Gonzalez, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

Gonzalez then jumped into the driver’s seat of the ambulance, backed up over Arroyo and drove forward, dragging her across an intersection, Clark said. Arroyo was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The case against Gonzalez was delayed by psychiatric evaluations to determine his fitness to stand trial. He was convicted on March 8 after a month-long trial.

Clark said in a statement that the sentencing “closes a long and difficult chapter for the victim’s family and her FDNY colleagues, who have waited for justice for six years.”

The Daily News reported that Arroyo’s mother, Leida Rosado, said in court before the sentencing, “At night, before I close my eyes, Yadi is the last thought on my mind. Taken from me in the most savage way.”

Gonzalez told the courtroom, “I apologize to the victim’s family. I never knew what was going on.”

Gonzalez’s attorney had sought a sentence of 20 years to life.

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Man sentenced to life in death of NYC ambulance driver