Angel Arce Torres died Monday, never knowing who ran him down on a Hartford street on May 30, 2008, leaving him paralyzed and on life support. Wednesday, the state Senate honored his the memory with a moment of silence.
The 79-year-old father of seven, grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of 33, was thrust into the national spotlight on that spring day, the center of a story that seemed to be about a city that had lost its moral compass.
Hartford state Sen. John Fonfara says he will always remember Torres' vibrant personality, and hopes those responsible are caught so Torres' family and the community can find peace.
Torres was crossing Park Street in Hartford, walking home from doing an errand, when a driver speeding down the street veered across the yellow line, struck him and drove off. Seconds later, a second car hit Torres.
Surveillance tape captured the shocking images and the video, sparking outrage across the city, state and country.
It showed no one stopping traffic as Torres lie on the street, and it appeared to take a long time for witnesses to come to his aid. It was later revealed that many people called 911 to get help for the injured man.
For almost a year, Torres’ family has waited for justice for the man who came to Hartford from Puerto Rico in the 1960s to work the tobacco farms.
His family appealed to the public for information that could lead to an arrest and Hartford Police placed the video on YouTube, looking for leads, but there have been no arrests in the case. Tuesday, Arce called on the community to help police find the driver. "people out there know" the driver, but nobody wants to talk, he said.
Torres was taken off life support at the Hospital of Special Care in New Britain on Monday night and died minutes later.
An autopsy will be performed to determine whether Torres died as a result of injuries he suffered when he was hit. If that 's the case, the charges against the person or persons responsible would ultimately include manslaughter, police said.
“For months he has waged a fight to survive a tragedy that has touched us all. Maria and I send our sincere condolences to the family and Hartford’s heart goes out to them,” Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said. “May they find some comfort in knowing that their loved one is at peace and is in a better place.”
Family members said Torres was surrounded by his loved ones when he died.
“May they also find comfort in knowing that good has come out of this dark moment. There were 911 calls for help moments after incident and police continue to work tirelessly on this case. Also, Hartford Crime Stoppers and Hartford Cares are two direct and very positive results of the Park Street hit and run demonstrating that a community cannot be defined by a single act or action,” Perez said. “Yes, Hartford has lost a man of family and faith, but he will not be forgotten because his life has made us all stronger.”