Driver leaves promising health professional critically injured after plowing into her car while fleeing police

Francis Akhalbey May 29, 2024
Micah Dukes was left critically injured after a drunk driver plowed into her car -- Photo Credit: Hudson Valley Community College

Authorities in New York said a drunk driver attempting to evade police left a promising health professional critically injured after he plowed into a car the victim was riding in. According to the New York Post, the crash happened in the early hours of Sunday in Bushwick. 

Authorities said the victim, identified as 29-year-old Micah Dukes, was riding in a Honda Pilot with other occupants when Juan Lopez, 32, plowed a Mercedes he was driving into their car after he jumped a red right. Lopez had engaged in a pursuit with police during an attempt to escape a traffic stop, police said.

Dukes was said to be seated at the back when Lopez plowed into the Honda Pilot, and the impact ejected her from the vehicle. Lopez, after the crash, lost control of his car before it came to a standstill on a sidewalk, per police. He was subsequently arrested, and authorities said the other three individuals Dukes was with did not sustain any injuries. Dukes was, however, taken to the hospital in critical condition.

An eyewitness identified as Edwin Castro told the news outlet that he saw a Mercedes plowing into the Honda Pilot after jumping a red light, adding that a police car was pursuing the Mercedes at the time.

“I just ran over there to see if everybody, everything was okay,” Castro, 64, said. “It caught me out of nowhere, you know? I saw her lying on the floor trying to breathe. She couldn’t breathe because she had blood all over her face.”

Dukes in 2023 graduated from the Hudson Valley Community College with an Associate of Applied Science after enrolling in Community Health Navigation, a spokeswoman for the school told the New York Post.

The 29-year-old interned at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County for four months when she was in her final year at Hudson Valley. “I knew coming into this program that I wanted to help people,” she said on her profile

“I wanted to work with marginalized communities, people dealing with mental health issues, low income, people of color, and I think this is a good start in terms of my career. I just think it’s really important to help people improve the quality of their lives.”

Dukes’ internship eventually landed her a role at the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Home Energy Assistance Program. The program “helps people heat and winterize their homes.” Besides that, Dukes also “assists with the Healthy Neighborhoods Program, which focuses on scheduling and providing at-home visits to identify environmental hazards like lead paint and just generally helping residents make their homes safer and healthier.”

“Now, more than ever, is the time to start in a field like this,” Dukes said in reference to her career path. “We really need people out there helping the community.”

Lopez faces a slew of charges including reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident with serious injury, second-degree vehicular assault, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, obstructing governmental administration, reckless driving, driving while under the influence of alcohol and refusal to take a breath test, the New York Post reported.

He was also additionally slapped with a violation for disobeying the red light.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 29, 2024


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