NEW YORK — The body of a man who was hit by a car, trapped under another vehicle and dragged for nearly 20 miles will undergo an autopsy today so authorities can try to determine when he died.
Police said the gruesome death was accidental and they have no plans to charge the drivers.
Police today identified the victim as 26-year-old Guido Salvador Carabajo-Jara, a native of Ecuador, who had been living in Queens. The body was identified by his cousin.
The man’s heels were shorn off during the hourlong ordeal over busy New York City streets. His clothes and several layers of skin on his legs and buttocks were worn off. The back of his head was worn through to the scalp.
The man was hit Wednesday morning in the Corona section of Queens, while apparently crossing against the light. The driver, Gustavo Acosta, called police, who arrived to find the victim gone and no damage to the SUV, making it look as though no one had been hit.
About two vehicles behind, Manuel Lituma Sanchez drove over the victim, who was facing up, and the man’s chest became hooked by a steel plate under the van known as the skid plate, used to protect the transmission and undercarriage.
Unaware of anything wrong, Lituma Sanchez drove from Queens to Brooklyn and ended up in Brighton Beach, where he works as a delivery man, police said.
On the residential streets at a slower speed, he suspected something was wrong with his engine, and he stopped, opened the hood and checked the oil. But he did not look under the car.
“I didn’t feel anything, and I didn’t hear anything,” Lituma Sanchez told reporters Wednesday outside his Queens home. “I didn’t know what happened.”
The van traveled for nearly an hour before a pedestrian alerted the driver to something dragging under the van. Lituma Sanchez looked underneath, saw the body, and called authorities.
“You can’t imagine the shock I felt” on seeing the corpse, Lituma Sanchez told reporters. “I’m just so nervous and very sad.”
The victim was described as a Hispanic man in his 20s or 30s, between 5 feet 2 and 5 feet 4 inches tall. A broken iPhone, business card and Western Union receipt were found in the man’s pockets, police said.