Daily hit-and-run investigations worry New York victims’ communities

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BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn — Another day in August, another hit-and- run investigation in New York City. It's happened three days in a row, and the latest one has left a man fighting for his life in the hospital.

On Thursday morning, NYPD traffic investigators and other officers searched for the driver of a dark-colored or silver late-model Mercedes sedan. They and eyewitnesses say that it drove through the intersection of Sutter and Georgia Avenues, above the speed limit, hitting Carleton Cooper, 61, hard.

"It threw [him] up in the air," said Adrian Rose, Cooper's best friend, who witnessed the crash firsthand just after 11:20 p.m on Wednesday night.

Cooper had just walked out of the Sutter Family Market, a convenience store on the corner, and was in the crosswalk when the Mercedes slammed into him. Cooper is in critical condition.

"He would make you shine on a rainy day," said Rose, who's known as "Uncle" by the dozen or so people who hang out with him and Cooper in and around a supermarket parking lot at the corner, where they collect bottles and cans and redeem them for cash. "He was just a good dude," Rose added.

He and other eyewitness expressed their frustration at not just this latest hit and run, but also by the fact that so many have been investigated lately.

"This is outrageous that somebody would hit someone and just leave the scene," Antoinette Davis-Campbell exclaimed from behind the steering wheel of her sedan.

It is a hazardous trend over the last few days.

On Tuesday, in Rego Park, Queens, NYPD highway officers and others spent hours on the scene of 63rd Drive and Booth Avenue, where a 30-year-old man was hit and killed when a white sedan backed over him.

On Wednesday, investigators released a video of a black Honda running over a woman in the rain in Staten Island in mid-July. The car stopped, only to accelerate again and flee, dragging the woman behind it for several feet.

The victim remains in serious condition, but police have now arrested Beatrice Tchoungoua, 22, who they say was the driver.

The hope in this latest case is that police make another arrest soon, and that there's not another such crash in the five boroughs for a while.

"It bothers me that the driver would leave the scene of the crime," Rose said.

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