Death of Bronx moped rider struck by drunk driver leaves family reeling

Graham Rayman, New York Daily News
·3 min read

The death of a Bronx construction worker struck by a drunk driver while riding his moped has left his family reeling.

Frank Davila, 59, was fatally hit just a block from his home in Soundview Saturday.

“I was very shocked. I still am,” said Marcos Davila, 57, who works for a tugboat transportation company. “I don’t really believe it to an extent. My brother was very cautious. He was always careful of his surroundings.”

Motorist Stephanie Mendez, 33, was charged with driving while intoxicated and with a suspended license.

“I would hope she would get charged with more than that, because it was more than that. It was my brother’s life that was taken,” Marcos said. “How do they still consider this just a drunk driving incident if in fact the victim has become deceased?”

Cops said Frank Davila was riding his moped south on Rosedale Ave. in Soundview around 12:20 a.m. when Mendez struck him while driving east in a 2005 grey Volvo sedan on the Bruckner Blvd. service road, according to cops.

Frank was thrown from his moped. Medics rushed him unconscious and unresponsive to Jacobi Medical Center, where he died.

Mendez, after being arrested at the scene, was arraigned Saturday in Bronx Criminal Court and released without bail. She’s due back in court Dec. 17.

“In the nicest way possible, you need to leave me and my mom alone,” Mendez’s son said when approached by a reporter at their home Sunday a mile from the scene of the crash. “She’s not going to talk to you. Just leave us alone.”

The victim’s brother spoke with the Daily News by phone while taking a walk near his church to clear his head Sunday. Marcos said his brother had lived in the Bronx for at least 20 years and was raising two children — a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl — with his common-law partner.

Frank also has children from a prior relationship, his brother said. He loved to work with his hands and so labored as a mechanic, a refrigerator repairman and a construction worker.

As of Nov. 6, 42 motorcycle and moped riders had died in crashes citywide this year compared to 25 during the same period last year, cops said.

Frank was one of four sibling. Their parents died when they were young and a court decided to separate the family and send them to children’s homes, where they were raised.

Marcos and the youngest sister were sent to one home, while Frank was sent to another. The fourth sibling, a sister, was old enough to live on her own.

“Our parents died when we were very young. We were placed in an institution-style setting,” Marcos Davila said. “The courts felt it was the best situation to separate us because of our age.”

Their unusual upbringing separated the two brothers but they remained close.

As a young man, Frank played sports and cared for his pets. He enjoyed tinkering with things.

“He loved fixing bicycles. He loved putting televisions together,” his brother said. “We played basketball as often as we could."

As they grew older, their live took them further apart. Frank stayed in the Bronx and Marcos moved to New Jersey. They would often talk on holidays.

“He was always with his kids,” Marcos said. “He was friendly, he liked to laugh, he liked to joke, he was always there to listen to me. We would speak about a little of everything. We had that type of a brother relationship.”

With Clayton Guse

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