A witness to a fatal pedestrian incident in Prince George’s County says it was not an accident as originally believed by police in Hyattsville, Md.
Fredy Castillo-Leon, 41, of Hyattsville, died and four others were hospitalized after being struck by a Lincoln Town Car in the parking lot of a Home Depot in the 3300 block of East-West Highway Thursday afternoon. There were reports that the driver, a 79-year-old Hyattsville man, had a medical emergency and his passenger tried to steer the car clear of the men standing on an island in the lot.
Prince George’s County police have taken the lead in the investigation and have yet to determine a cause.
A witness told News4 he and five other day laborers were standing on the island when the driver lowered the window and began yelling at them. The car continued through the lot, circled around and then accelerated toward the day laborers, the witness said.
The witness was the only one to get out of the way and suffered only minor cuts. He said the impact sent the others several feet, stripped off some of their clothing and left a trail of blood. Castillo-Leon became wedged between the tires of an 18-wheeler parked in the lot.
The car then crashed into the wall surrounding the parking lot. The driver got out of the car and stood there until police arrived, the witness said.
Castillo-Leon’s family, which placed flowers at the scene Friday, wants to know whether his death was the result of a hate crime. A spokesman for Prince George's Police said that the department had no knowledge of any hate crime aspect to the accident. The spokesman also said that while the crash was being investigated by the county, the overall investigation was being handled by Hyattsville City Police.