By Bill Kirk
LAWRENCE — Every morning around 8, 79-year-old Eulalio Rosario would leave his house at 12 Pleasant St. and make the milelong walk to the Lawrence Senior Center to play dominoes and hang out with his buddies.
Yesterday, he never made it.
As his daughter Maria Polanco watched from the second-floor window of the home she owns, her father crossed the intersection with High Street when a Chrysler Pacifica came into view and slammed into him, sending his body flying 10 feet in the air and then crashing to the pavement.
His shoes came off. A handkerchief fluttered to the ground. Some other personal belongings were left lying on the pavement near a pool of blood.
At first, Polanco didn't know who it was, according to Zakarys Ventura, who lives with her family on the first floor of the two-family home.
"She talks on the phone and watches out the window," Ventura said. "She was on the phone when it happened and said to her friend, 'Oh my god, a car just killed a guy.' Then she realized it was her father and she ran down the stairs and out into the street."
She was joined at the scene by Jasmine Ventura, who also lives on the first floor.
"I heard the impact," Ventura said. "Then I heard when he landed. ... I went running out as soon as I heard it. When I got there, he was on the ground. He was moving at first. Then he looked like a dead bird. They told us at the hospital he had internal bleeding. And he had a broken arm. They tried to bring him back, but he couldn't make it."
He was declared dead at Lawrence General Hospital, where he was taken at about 8:30 a.m.
Police are not citing the driver, Madeline Delgado, 27, of 325 High St., but a state police accident reconstruction team is continuing its investigation, according to Michael Garrihy, executive assistant to police Chief John Romero. The investigation should be done in a few days.
According to a police report, Delgado told investigators yesterday morning that she was traveling east on High Street when Rosario darted into the street. She said he appeared out of nowhere and that she couldn't stop in time, Garrihy said.
"He was chasing something, looking down," Garrihy said she told police. "He ran in front of her car and she couldn't stop."
As friends and neighbors tried to console his daughter, they recalled a man who was hardworking and friendly, who had recently made the decision to move full time to the United States from the Dominican Republic.
"He was a lively, active man," Jasmine Ventura said. He lived in the Dominican Republic six months a year, and then in the United States six months a year. Since his wife died four years ago, he made the decision recently to move to the United States full time, she said. He had been living in a finished, third-floor attic of his daughter's home.
A gardener by trade, he spent much of his free time fixing up the house owned by his daughter, cleaning around the outside of the building and landscaping the backyard from a jumble of overgrown trees to a beautiful garden.