Driver Who Killed Cardi B’s Friend David “La Salsa” Has Been Indicted for Manslaughter
28-year-old Leandro A. Diaz-Ramirez, the driver who killed 31-year-old Joel Adames and 40-year-old David Fernandez in upper Manhattan on August 3, has been indicted for manslaughter and assault. Rapper Cardi B, who was a friend of Adames, mourned him on Instagram Live.
The two men were leaving a barbershop where Fernandez, known in the community as David La Salsa, was giving Adames a late-night haircut. According to WPIX, the driver doing 59 in a 25 mph zone was speeding near 207th and Sherman Avenue when he ran a red light and t-boned a Subaru with his BMW, which went flying into the two men.
The Subaru driver and five others walked away with minor injuries, but Fernandez and Adames appear to be killed instantly as revealed by video footage of the crash (Trigger warning: this video contains extremely graphic images).
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, released a statement about the crash saying, “As alleged, this reckless speeding and driving ended in tragedy,” he said. “Manhattanites should not be killed by drivers when they are simply walking in their neighborhood.”
“We will continue to protect the safety of pedestrians and drivers on our streets,” he added. Black Enterprise reports that both men were rushed to the hospital — Adames to New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Fernandez to Harlem Hospital — where both men were pronounced dead.
Adames worked as a delivery driver and had a 2-year-old daughter. Fernandez was a fixture of the community and a well-known barber in the area. He also taught salsa classes and loved to dance, which resulted in him being dubbed David La Salsa.
The New York Post reports that Sherman Avenue has seen four traffic-related deaths in the last 10 years. They also noted that, although New York City added bike lanes and turning lanes in 2015, there have been a total of 68 traffic-related incidents and injuries since 2018.
Twelve of those people were injured at the exact crossroads where Adames and Fernandez were killed, although executive director of Transportation Alternatives Danny Harris says the number could be as high as 36 in the last five years.
“Right now, state law only allows red light cameras at 1% of signalized intersections in all five boroughs,” he said. “This restriction is deadly, and we demand that Albany legislators lift the limits on the red light camera program to start saving lives.”
The Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods are well-known for frequent traffic accidents involving pedestrians and other cars. The neighborhoods are home to a number of street racers and speedsters who insist on flying through residential areas despite the large number of families that live in the area.
Cardi B posted two tributes to the men on her Instagram, one of which read, “Stupidness, negligence, I hope the worst to who committed this! Took someone sooo loved, full of life and just all around amazing leaving people destroy.. RIP JOEL,” while the other read, “Soo hurt for my fams janco and marlaaa. Y la familia de Joey.”