ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY (WLNY) – There is grief and concern following a Christmas Eve crime.
A woman was struck and killed by an unlicensed driver who left the scene. He was arrested, and immediately released back on the street, under the terms of New York state’s new bail reform law.
Those close to the victim are struggling to understand why, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.
“I feel fortunate to have met her and have had her in my life,” friend Irene Secone said.
Friends and family are distraught following the death of 35-year-old Marie “Rosie” Osai.
The immigrant from Haiti, a mother of three, was run over on Christmas Eve while crossing route 9W in Stony Point.
Facing a felony charge for fleeing a fatal accident is 27-year-old Jorge Flores-Villalba. According to court records, Flores-Villalba told an investigator, “I was driving and I did strike a person. I didn’t call the police. I was afraid because I don’t have a license.”
When the suspect was arraigned Christmas Day, the town justice released him without bail.
“We’re all here devastated. Her family is devastated, and this man on Christmas Day goes home and spends it with his family,” Secone said.
Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan blames Albany lawmakers.
“Logistically, it made sense to release the defendant at this time based on the new laws that go into effect Jan. 1,” Monaghan said.
Monaghan said bail reform would have mandated release of the suspect next week, anyway.
The reform pushed by Albany Democrats eliminates bail for all misdemeanors and most non-violent felonies.
The unlicensed driver accused of killing Osai is free, on just a promise to return to court on Jan. 9.