UPDATE: A 26-year-old real estate agent from Paterson was driving the hit-and-run sedan that struck and killed a Garfield mother of five outside her home, authorities confirmed.
Victor E. Diaz Castenada was being held in the Bergen County Jail on Tuesday, Jan. 10, in connection with the death exactly a week earlier of Shazia Faazal, 51.
CONTINUED HERE: Real Estate Agent Charged In Hit-And-Run Death Of Bergen Mother Of Five
PREVIOUS STORY: An anguished family continues to reel from the death of a beloved mother of five who was struck and dragged by a hit-and-run driver as she crossed the street just outside her Garfield home.
Shazia Faazal, 51, will be buried on Thursday, Jan. 5, following a 1:15 p.m. funeral prayer -- called a janaza -- at the Darul Islah mosque in Teaneck.
Nearly 80 direct and extended family members will attend, including two adult daughters who'd been visiting from overseas.
Meanwhile, authorities continued to search for the driver who cold-bloodedly kept going after hitting and then dragging Faazal 50 or so feet just steps from her home on Outwater Lane near Alaska Street shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.
"I wasn't ready for any of this. I wasn't ready for this. I needed my mom," a sobbing Afaf Faazal told News4 New York's Pat Battle outside her parents home on Wednesday.
Neighbors told Battle they "heard a loud thud and then screams."
One said she watched as paramedics furiously tried to revive Faazal with CPR.
SEE: Mother Killed in Tragic New Jersey Hit-And-Run (News4 New York)
Faazal was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. Detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Major Crimes Unit are searching for the driver, assisted by Garfield police.
Among the surveillance video collected by investigators is a view from a neighbor's home showing the eastbound dark-colored vehicle turning after hitting Faazal -- while oncoming drivers stopped after witnessing what had happened (see photo, top).
Residents and others have long complained about vehicles far exceeding the 25-mile-an-hour speed limit on Outwater Lane. Making it even more treacherous, the area where Faazal crossed is below the crest of a blind rise in the roadway.
Faazal came to the U.S. from Pakistan 12 years ago. She settled in Garfield with her children and husband, Sheikh Faazal Mahmood.
Faazal's oldest child is only 30. She and her husband had three other daughters and a son, the youngest of them in their teens.
One of the daughters was supposed to fly back to Pakistan on Wednesday. She must now "stay back to look after her younger brothers and sisters," said niece Sabina Mahmood.
Faazal had a sister here, but the rest of her direct relatives are in Pakistan.
The extended family has grown considerably over the years, however, and is doing all it can to help. Direct relatives and in-laws are leaning on one another as they try to get their heads -- and hearts -- around the unimaginable.
"It's such a tragedy for all of us," Mahmood said. "She was a lovely woman, an amazing human being. She was a helper, a friend."
It wasn't easy for her.
Faazal was on the cusp of middle age when she said goodbye to her parents and moved to the States. She immediately set about adjusting to a new home while raising her brood.
A nephew of Faazal's has turned his pain into a focused effort to not let his aunt die in vain.
Hamzah Sheikh posted a change.org petition demanding that city officials press the county to take steps to make Outwater Lane safer, which includes:
- adding speed bumps, humps, and other "traffic calming devices" to reduce vehicle speeds in residential and commercial areas;
- installing more stop signs and traffic lights at intersections and crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and safety;
- using speed traps and other enforcement measures to "deter reckless and irresponsible driving";
- adding sidewalks and pedestrian islands "to provide safe and convenient routes for walking and biking."
GO TO: The Importance of Pedestrian Safety (Garfield, New Jersey)
ANYONE who might have witnessed the crash or has information that can help identify the car or the driver is asked to call Garfield police at (973) 478-8500 or the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office at (201) 646-2300. Calls will be kept confidential.
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