The man convicted of running down FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo with her own ambulance in 2017 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release on Wednesday.
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a statement posted immediately after the sentencing that department members are “grateful” that Arroyo’s killer Jose Gonzalez will never be on the streets again.
“Yadira Arroyo was an extraordinary EMT who cared for her patients deeply – just as she was doing when she was brutally killed six years ago,” Kavanagh said.
“We join her family in our continued mourning of her loss and hope this sentencing can offer a pathway to healing for those who loved her. We will continue to honor her memory of service to our city.”
In March, a Bronx jury convicted Gonzalez of first-degree murder for killing Arroyo, a beloved 44-year-old mother of five, when he hit her with her own ambulance during a PCP-induced tirade.
Arroyo and her colleague, Monique Williams, were on their way to an emergency call involving a pregnant lady when a passing driver warned to them that someone was riding on the ambulance bumper, Williams testified in February.
The pair, who were traveling down White Plains Road around 7 p.m. on March 16, 2017, pulled over to investigate, according to Williams. That’s when Gonzalez dashed around the rig and jumped behind the wheel.
Arroyo and Williams fought back, trying to pull the allegedly PCP-crazed man out of the driver’s seat.
“I remember her screaming, ‘Oh hell, no!’ ” Williams said of Arroyo.
But Gonzalez, a career criminal with 31 prior arrests under his belt, kicked the ambulance into gear even as he fought the two medics, Williams said.
Another witness told the court that Gonzalez reversed the ambulance, hit a car, then lurched forward into an intersection. That’s when Arroyo fell beneath the wheels.
“I lost sight of her,” said Williams, who retired the day of the horror. “When we started to go forward, I felt some tumbling underneath us.”
She discovered Arroyo motionless on the ground. The 14-year-old FDNY medic died in the hospital from her injuries.
Gonzalez was seen walking up to the driver’s side door, opening it, and climbing inside, according to a security camera tape produced by the defense. However, an SUV obstructed Arroyo’s exit before the tractor began to move.
Prosecutors claim that an off-duty MTA police officer witnessed the defendant drag Arroyo before smashing into a snow bank. Gonzalez attempted to flee, and the officer tackled and detained him with the assistance of many civilians.
At one point during the trial, prosecutors displayed gruesome photo evidence of the ambulance’s blood-splattered side and smashed headlight — which elicited loud gasps from the crowd of EMTs sitting in the courtroom.
Gonzalez was first ruled incompetent for trial, but the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center reversed that judgment in September.
Following his indictment, he pled not guilty.