By ADAM SCHRADER, RYAN SIT and GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Published in The New York Daily News on Aug. 29, 2016
The family of Aissatou Diallo gathered at her Staten Island home to mourn her tragic death Monday when she was knocked off the Brooklyn Expressway.
The 49-year-old mother was standing near a family member’s broken-down car when Vladimir Menin, 43, smashed into another car that careened into her — and sent her flying off the elevated highway.
Cops charged Menin — who witnesses said tried to flee on foot — with drunken driving as well as manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
Diallo’s son, Abdouile, 16, chased Menin and held him until cops arrived.
“I was so angry. My first intent was to throw him over. But then I remembered I’m not a barbarian. My mom wouldn’t have wanted that,” the heartbroken teen said.
Aissatou Diallo had stopped to help another relative with a flat tire, Abdouile said.
The family was coming from a big wedding and stopped about 2:50 a.m. to help his aunt with her stricken car, the teen said.
Police said Menin was in a 2011 BMW and traveling westbound on the BQE, when he struck Aissatou Diallo’s car from behind — causing it to crash into her.
Abdouile, who still had a hospital bracelet on his wrist after he was taken there to get glass removed from his back, said Menin was barely coherent at the scene.
“This guy was really drunk. His words were complete gibberish,” he said.
Aissatou Diallo’s husband, Amadou Diallo, 54, was surrounded by as many as 50 relatives at his Staten Island home as he tried to come to grips with what happened.
“I need all their support right now,” said the immigrant from Guinea.
“I’m hoping life will continue. I’ll continue to do my best take care of our children,” he said.
Aissatou Diallo’s oldest son, Alpha, 18, was asleep when he got the news of the tragedy.
Alpha, a college student, said he will honor his mother’s memory by getting the best education he can.
“She always told me since I was 5 years old walking into elementary school that school is always first,” he said.
“Right now she’d want me in school but I took a little break for her today. Wednesday, I’m going to continue on. School. School. School,” he said.