By Christina Santucci
An elderly Astoria man was struck by an SUV and killed Tuesday evening while crossing the street a block from his home, and police said the driver of the vehicle that hit him was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Police said 89-year-old Lizardo Aldama was crossing at the intersection of 31st Street and 21st Avenue in the Ditmars section of Astoria at about 6 p.m. when he was hit.
Several neighbors said that after Aldama was struck, he was dragged by the SUV.
“People had to scream at him [the driver] to get off of him,” said Patricia Kazakos, 50, who lives in the same building as Aldama and said she arrived at the corner after the accident.
Astoria resident Demitrios Matsoukatidis, 67, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, according to a spokesman for the NYPD. Police said that Matsoukatidis failed a Breathalyzer test.
Aldama was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens, where he was pronounced dead.
“When I saw the cane, I knew it was him,” Kazakos said of her neighbor.
Kazakos said Aldama had lived on 21st Avenue since 1955 and was retired.
“He was a lovely man,” Kazakos said.