A Year After Son’s Hit-and-Run Death, Hempstead Mom Awaits Justice

On the first anniversary of Oscar Veliz death, his mother Yolanda Veliz lights a candle near where he was killed in Hempstead. (Photo via La Tribuna Hispana)

A year after the death of 16-year-old Oscar Veliz in a hit-and-run in Hempstead, Long Island, his family continues to cope with their grief while still waiting and hoping that an arrest is made in the case, La Tribuna Hispana reported. The article below was edited and translated from Spanish.

A year after the death of young Oscar Veliz in a hit-and-run incident in the Village of Hempstead, Long Island, his family is still mourning his loss and waiting for justice to be done.

On October 18, the anniversary of Oscar’s death, his mother Yolanda Veliz, relatives and friends met at the intersection of Clinton Street and Lent Avenue to honor his memory, and most importantly to demand that justice be done and the crime not allowed to go unpunished.

The story begins a year earlier when, according to detectives investigating the case, Oscar Veliz, 16, was riding his bicycle southwards on Clinton near Yale Street and Lent. He was apparently trying to cross the street when he was struck by a gold- or bronze-colored four-door sedan whose driver sped away from the scene.

The driver was described as African American, approximately 20 years old, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and was last seen heading east on Jackson Avenue. The police report indicates that a police department ambulance took Oscar to a nearby hospital, where he died of multiple injuries two days later.

A year later, no progress has been made in the case. Despite several eye-witnesses accounts, the police has not been able to make an arrest. “A year has gone by since this terrible tragedy, and we don’t want another year to pass without justice. So we are asking the community to help us with their testimony if they know anything. Besides, the individual who committed this crime remains at large and could do the same to others,” said Yolanda Veliz.

At the memorial ceremony, attended by his former classmates from Hempstead High School, participants held signs with slogans alluding to finding the perpetrator. “I understand that accidents can happen, but if it’s a matter of responsibility, I don’t understand how this person can be living with his guilt and not turn himself in to the police,” added Veliz.

According to official sources, the Homicide Division of the Nassau County Police Department is continuing its investigation. 

Oscar Veliz Foundation

Yolanda Veliz is a Honduran immigrant and a single mother who had been building her life as an entrepreneur and rearing her two sons, Carlos, 19, and Oscar. Her younger son’s death was a severe blow to the energetic entrepreneur and she did not know what to do. But that didn’t last long. “I believe the memory of my son has made me strong to seek justice and to continue on with life, as he would have wanted,” she said in an interview with La Tribuna Hispana.

When Oscar died, his mother immediately decided to donate his organs. She found solace when she heard that his organs had saved six lives. “I believe my son Oscar continues to live because he has helped others continue to live. He was very special, at his young age he was always helpful and he assisted me a lot in my business, and he wanted to keep on studying in order to become a medical doctor. He was a very restless boy, but always aware of the realities of our life, and so he studied hard and brought home good grades,” said  Veliz.

To continue the noble work that she started in her son’s memory, Veliz founded the Oscar Veliz Foundation which not only honors her son’s name but also promotes organ donation in the Latino community.  “There are still certain prejudices against donations,” Veliz said.

Veliz said the Foundation raises funds through the sale of the organic coffee Organo Gold. All the profits go to the foundation and its programs, among them assisting poor children in her native Honduras, where it will send funds to improve schools and learning.

“When I get sad, I think of my son Oscar and he gives me strength to go on, in a mission I know he would have loved – helping others in need,” she adds.

Several people who received the organ donations have come to thank her personally, and to get to know Oscar’s family. “They have expressed great gratitude to my son because now they can live better and this fills me with joy, and I’m sure Oscar would have loved it too,” she added.

Search for the Perpetrator

Veliz urged anyone who has information that might lead to the arrest of the hit-and-run driver to call her personally, and she will keep the informant’s name anonymous. Anyone who knows anything is asked to call (516)385-6423 or visit the website www.oscarvelizfoundation.com.

The detectives of the NCPD Homicide Division are also asking anyone with additional information about this crime to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers by calling (800)244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.

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