Peggy Zambito felt blessed that she, her daughter and her two young grandchildren walked away without any serious injuries from an accident on Transit Road in Elba a week ago.
This evening, she said she felt a sense of closure now that a person has been located, arrested and charged in the terrifying accident.
Jose Francisco Ortega-Hernandez, 46, of Transit Road, Elba, has been charged with: aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd; leaving the scene of a property damage accident; no insurance; unsecured license plate; uninspected motor vehicle; unregistered motor vehicle; failure to yield at a stop sign; inadequate brakes, and failure to report a motor-vehicle accident with more than $1,000 in damage.
Following his arrest today, he was arraigned in Town of Batavia court and jailed on $2,500 bail.
He is also being held on an immigration warrant for past driving offenses.
According to accounts Zambito shared exclusively with The Batavian earlier this week, she was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her daughter Mercy Caparco, and her two grandchildren, Maggie, 5, and Molly, 2, when they saw a red SUV flying toward the North Byron and Transit Road intersection. There was no way to avoid the vehicle, Zambito said, and, she said, the other driver couldn't have stopped in time, even if he had tried.
The SUV slammed broadside into the Ford Explorer the family was in and caused it to roll over several times.
It was only by the grace of God and the safety features of the Explorer that the two women and two children walked away without any serious injuries, Zambito said.
She hoped that publication of the story and photos from the accident would help lead to the arrest of the suspect.
The Sheriff's Office press release does not state how the suspect was located.
ICE Supervisory of Deportation Officer A. Castro assisted the Sheriff's Office in the investigation.