Hundreds of mourners filed into the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in East Hampton on Tuesday afternoon to pay their respects to the 36-year-old Amagansett mother who was killed when she was struck by a car last week while pushing her two young children in a stroller.
In family photos, Yuris Murillo Cruz smiles while clutching her children or in the arms of her husband, Wilson. On Tuesday, tears streamed down the faces of friends and family as she was laid to rest.
Ms. Murillo Cruz died en route to the hospital following the accident, just before noon on January 13. Her two children, ages 1 and 4, were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital hospital, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries and were both discharged over the weekend, according to a family friend.
The driver of the car that struck the three as they walked home on the shoulder of Montauk Highway from the Amagansett School, where Ms. Murillo-Cruz’s daughter goes to school, fled the scene, sparking an hours long search by police.
The suspected vehicle — a small red 1997 Dodge pickup truck with one white bumper — was located by police a short time later, abandoned on a road near the beach in Napeague, but there were no signs of the driver. A Suffolk County Police Department helicopter and K-9 team were called in to help with the search, which ranged across Napeague to Hither Hills.
It turned out that the driver, Mark A. Corrado Jr., 28, had used the Uber app on his phone to hire a car to drive him back to his home in West Babylon in western Suffolk County. He turned himself in at a Suffolk County Police Department precinct a short time later and was turned over the East Hampton Town Police that evening.
East Hampton Town Police Captain Chris Anderson said there was no evidence Mr. Corrado was intoxicated and that it appeared the only reason he had fled from the scene was that “he panicked.”
The accident took place in a gradual bend in the road with only a narrow shoulder. There is a sidewalk along the westbound side of the highway but the sidewalk that leads away from the Amagansett School along the eastbound side ends about a half-mile west of where the accident occurred.
The speed limit is 35 mph, and police said that investigators are still trying to determine how fast Mr. Corrado was going at the time.
He told police that he had “looked down for a second” when the accident occurred.
“We’re looking at this as, basically, a distracted driver matter,” Captain Anderson said.
Mr. Corrado was arraigned virtually on Thursday morning by East Hampton Town Justice Lisa Rana and was released on his own recognizance, as dictated by state law.
Currently he is only charged with leaving the scene of an accident that involved a fatality, a felony, and the most serious level of charges related to leaving the scene of an accident. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
“I can’t believe this happened,” Nicolasa Avelvo, a family friend, said the day after the accident as she and two other friends hung a wreath on a telephone pole a few feet from where Ms. Murillo Cruz died. “She was so young.”
Ms. Avelvo said that Ms. Murillo Cruz, who is originally from El Salvador, and her husband, Wilson, have lived in East Hampton Town for 20 years.
Ms. Murillo Cruz had just picked up her daughter, Michelle from the half-day pre-k program at Amagansett School and was walking back to the small apartment the family rents near Bunker Hill Road.
The day after the accident, Amagansett School Superintendent Seth Turner visited the site with family friends.
“The whole school community has been affected by this,” Mr. Turner said on Thursday while visiting the site of the accident with Mr. Murillo-Cruz’s friends. “We will do everything we can to support the family.”
The Amagansett PTA has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the children’s medical expenses and the funeral that, as of this Tuesday, had raised more than $113,000. A second fund-raiser set up by friends of the family to help pay for funeral expenses has raised more than $83,000.
“We are a small community, and we need to help support one another — especially during such an agonizing time for the Murillo Cruz family,” the Amagansett PTA’s appeal said. “We are incredibly grateful for all donations — no matter how small, and your help will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Murillo Cruz family.”
Family friend Angelica Marta said that Mr. Murillo and his children are still struggling come to terms with the tragedy
“He is truly grateful and touched by the outreach of the community, friends and family,” Ms. Marta said. “All he wants is his wife back and his children to be okay. We know it will take time to heal and cope.”