An elderly Brooklyn pedestrian was killed in a gruesome hit-and-run after a teen driver lost control of his speeding Tesla, mowing the victim down on the sidewalk before trying to flee, police said Thursday.
An eyewitness recalled seeing the senior citizen, both his legs torn off by the lethal impact, lying on the street Wednesday night before the 17-year-old driver was arrested a short distance away while allegedly bolting from his mangled vehicle.
Victim Milorad Rajacic “looked like he was already going out,” said a neighbor who gave his name as Michael who ran outside with his wife after the couple heard screeching tires and a loud boom. “One leg was seven to eight feet away, the other leg was somewhere.”
The young driver was zipping north on Ocean Parkway in Midwood when he lost control while making a turn, with the Tesla hopping the curb near Avenue M about 9:20 p.m. and plowing into the 76-year-old Rajacic, cops said.
“The whole family is in shock now,” the victim’s son Peter Rajacic told the Daily News. “He was hard-working, tough as nails.”
The victim’s heartbroken wife of 50 years told The News her husband was walking home after doing some maintenance work at a nearby building when killed just three blocks from their residence.
“I had just left him,” recalled Emilia Rajacic. “He said, ‘Go home and I’ll meet you later.’ So I went home and this happened.”
Milorad Rajacic spent 40 years as an electrician with Con Ed, including a stint restoring the Lower Manhattan power grid after the 9/11 attacks, said the wife. He left his native Yugoslavia at age 19 and came to New York, where the couple met.
“He was perfect,” said his widowed bride. “Didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, worked two jobs for 40 years.”
The couple, who moved into their Brooklyn home in the 1970s, split their time between there and a second home in Old Westbury, L.I., the son said.
The Tesla continued to spin out of control until it struck a traffic signal pole, upending it before crashing into a parked scooter and a bench on the median where a 25-year-old man was sitting.
The man on the bench, who was struck by the falling pole, was taken to Maimonides Medical Center with two broken legs and a concussion after he was struck by the falling pole, according to a police source.
A neighbor of the dead man recalled Rajacic as father to one daughter and a longtime local resident.
“He was a very nice man, always working in his garden,” the neighbor said. “I can’t believe what you’re telling me.”
The teen, charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, was not identified by police due to his age, police said. He was awaiting arraignment in a Brooklyn courtroom.
The young suspect immediately asked for a lawyer once in custody and was driving with a junior license — a restriction requiring the teen to operate a car only with a licensed adult unless traveling to work or school, police sources said.
The suspect took and passed a breathalyzer test, the sources said, adding the teen lived near the site of the deadly crash and was alone in the pricey vehicle.
The eyewitness’ wife, who gave her name as Esther, described the intersection flanked on either side by rows of benches and tree-lined pedestrians paths as the site of frequent prior car crashes.
“It’s a family-friendly block, kids sit there all the time,” said Esther, pointing to the shattered bench demolished in the crash. “It’s a horrible intersection. There’s an accident every month.”
Medics took both victims to Maimonides Medical Center, where Rajacic died.