Paulina Nrecaj: Woman hit by SUV dies after being impaled on fence in freak accident
A gray Lexus SUV struck the 59-year-old Bronx resident in front of her building and the impact sent her flying into a nearby metal fence
Trigger warning: Graphic description. Discretion is advised.
BRONX, NEW YORK CITY: A woman who was critically hurt in the Bronx after being struck by a car and then impaled on a metal fence due to impact on Friday, September 9, 2022, night has died, according to her family. At 6:30 pm on Friday, Paulina Nrecaj, 59, was struck by a gray Lexus SUV in front of her building at 2040 Bronxdale Avenue. She was forced into a metal fence by the car after it jumped the curb, and a spike went through her. She was on her way to get pizza, according to her family, and was a stay-at-home mother of three and grandmother of one.
According to police, EMS took the woman to Jacobi Hospital, where was declared dead by her family. She suffered critical injuries. The driver was also transported to the same hospital where his condition is stable. According to the police, the collision seemed to be an accident, and no crime is currently suspected.
Speaking to The New York Post, Paulina's daughter Diana Nrecaj, 32 said that her mom died in Jacobi Hospital after undergoing surgery. She said, "She was a good, sweet woman. She was a very good, sweet woman. She didn’t deserve this. She was four steps away from her home."
The grieving daughter claimed that her father heard a thump while he was upstairs in the family's apartment and immediately ran to the street. She stated, "He came downstairs and there was a gentleman in the building holding my mother until EMS came and arrived."
Frane Nrecaj, 71, claimed he realized right away that his wife of 40 years wouldn't survive. He stated, "She was passed out. She lost a lot of blood coming from her mouth, a lot of blood coming from her nose." Paulina's devastated husband claimed that his Albanian-born wife had just recently celebrated her birthday. Frane said, "To me, she was a great person. She raised my kids. She was perfect. The kids were happy in their life. She was happy."
Nrecaj was helped off the fence by Sall Arobye, a 32-year-old Uber driver who lives across the street, and she was reassured that everything would be alright. "Do you think I made it?" she questioned. "Yes, you can do it, I told her. Keep going strong,'" he recalled. Arobye said, "It’s horrible. It’s horrible. I feel like I lied to her. She didn’t make it. It broke my heart."
Jada Bellamy, a 35-year-old nurse who happened to be nearby and witnessed the car skid and Nrecaj fly into the fence, guided Arobye. Bellamy recalled Saturday "I was holding the lady’s hand. She had a big, big gash on her left elbow, and blood was coming from her stomach. I knew she had internal bleeding instantly so I was like 'Don’t move her."'
The accident, according to Diana Nrecaj, was caused by a recently installed bike lane outside the building that is shielded by a line of parked cars. She claimed the configuration confused drivers. She stated, "Do you see it? It looks like they are double parked, do they not? It throws people off. There’s never been an accident here. He probably jumped the curb."
According to sources, the SUV driver mounted the curb after swerving to miss a van that was stopped at the intersection of Bronxdale and Cruger avenues.
Vanessa Gonzalez, a 34-year-old neighbor, claimed to have known Paulina Nrecaj since birth. She is "a beautiful person" and "very kind-hearted," Gonzalez said. "My heart is so broken. She was a great friend to my mom after my father passed away," Gonzalez added.
Friends and family members on Saturday lit candles and left flowers at an impromptu memorial outside the building. One family member said, "This shouldn’t have happened to nobody but it happened to us. I hope this doesn’t happen to anybody ever again."