On December 24, Ritawantee Persaud ordered an Uber to attend a small get-together for the holidays when the vehicle she was in was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Persaud suffered fatal injuries.
According to friends, Persaud, 54, had initially decided to forgo her annual gathering with friends on Christmas Eve because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she changed her mind last minute, hoping to spread some holiday cheer.
While only five blocks from her Ozone Park home in the back of a black 2018 Toyota Camry Uber, a hit-and-run driver crashed into the Uber. Persaud’s 5-year-old Uber driver was making a left from Rockaway Boulevard onto 103rd Avenue when they were hit by a man driving a Lamborghini Urus SUV. This occurred around 7:05 p.m. that Thursday evening.
The Lamborghini overturned from the impact. The Camry was left a twisted wreck on the sidewalk next to a church. The driver who killed Persaud ran off on foot after the crash, leaving his 26-year-old passenger behind in the flipped SUV. She was treated at Jamaica Hospital and is in stable condition with head and spine injuries. As of Friday, police were still searching for the driver of the Lamborghini. Police sources said they found marijuana in the vehicle.
After the accident, medics also took Persaud and the Uber driver to Jamaica Hospital. While the driver is in stable condition with head and leg injuries, Persaud died from head and body trauma at the hospital.
Persaud’s nephew, Vikash Misir, wrote the following message on Facebook after the accident: “Our entire Queens Hindu community lost a gem of a soul tonight. Never once have I seen her in a negative mood. She may be upset but always has a huge smile on her face and does what she has to to make sure everyone around her is happy.”
Persaud immigrated to the United States nearly twenty years ago and worked as an accountant in Queens. Sandra Sankar, Persaud’s friend since childhood, growing up in Guyana together, spoke with NY Daily News, saying, “She won the hearts of many, many children because she dedicated her life to a lot of children’s’ activities in the temples. [The driver] cannot give back that life. But at least he should be punished, and he should be taught a lesson that you know what, you need to take care. Because we all know what goes around comes around, right?”