Pedestrian Struck, Dragged 17 Miles

VehiclesDeathBrooklyn (New York City)Brighton BeachRaymond W. KellyWPIX

BRIGHTON BEACH, N.Y. (WPIX) -- A driver is being questioned by police Wednesday after it was discovered he struck a pedestrian in the Corona section of the Queens and dragged him 17 miles away to Brooklyn.

According to police, the incident unraveled sometime around 6 a.m. when the victim was struck near Shea Stadium by a vehicle and then dragged by another. The driver of the first vehicle called 911 at about 6:15 a.m. because he believed he had struck someone at 51st Avenue and 108th Street, reports say.

When authorities arrived to the scene, no evidence of a pedestrian hit was found. It was nearly an hour later that a passerby saw a dead man underneath a 1998 Chevy mini-van at the intersection of Neptune Avenue and Brighton 10th Terrace in Brighton Beach. The pedestrian flagged down the driver and immediately called police.

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Reports identify the driver of the mini-van as 52-year-old Manuel Gaspar Lituma Sanchez. Police say it appears Lituma did not realize he had struck the man and dragged him for nearly 20 miles. The driver reportedly smelled something burning and pulled over once along the way, but did not see the body.

New York City Police commissioner Raymond Kelly says authorities are surveying the route, looking for any evidence and body parts that may have detached from the corpse. The body is believed to have been dragged onto the Grand Central Parkway, south onto the Van Wyck Expressway and then west into Brooklyn.

It's unclear whether the victim was dead or alive when initially struck by the first driver.

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