Deaf man killed in pedestrian crash in District Heights

[Transcript] On September 7th, a deaf man, Manuel Cortez, as known as “Manny” and “Nene,” died after being struck by two vehicles. At 11:34pm, he was pronounced dead on the scene.

This happened at District Heights in Prince George County, Maryland. Cortez was from Brooklyn, New York and just turned 25 years old last August.

There are three articles in local news that explained the accident but the name of the victim was not released. We reached out to Prince George County’s Media Relations Division (PGCMRD) and they confirmed that the victim mentioned is Cortez.

We reached out to Yesenia Rivera, Cortez’s sister, to share what she knows. We had a conversation through video relay.

She explained that Cortez and his girlfriend went to visit Maryland on Thursday, September 5th, to visit a friend. On Saturday, September 7th, Cortez and his girlfriend went to a party. That was the last that Rivera (his sister) heard from him.

Rivera said that she always talks to Cortez everyday so when she did not get any response on Sunday, she knew something was wrong. She began investigating by calling various police departments and asking Cortez’s friends. Nobody could tell her where he was.

When Rivera read news articles about the accident, she had a feeling that it was her brother. On September 12th, the Prince George County Police Department informed Rivera that the body had been identified as Cortez.

We contacted PGCMRD for comments. They said that Cortez was walking across the street, not using the crosswalk, in the dark. The first car that hit him was a Mercedes. Cortez fell to the ground, and then an SUV coming from the opposite direction hit him. Both drivers stayed on the scene until police arrived and explained that they didn’t see Cortez until it was too late. The drivers’ identities have not been released and there are no charges for either person.

Cortez did not have any ID on him which took awhile for the fingerprinting process to confirm that the body belonged to him.

Rivera stated that Cortez has Usher’s Syndrome, which may make it harder for him to see at night. She said she is heartbroken by this whole situation and wants to know what made Cortez cross the street late at night and why he was alone. She said she is frustrated at not being able to get answers.

Rivera shared a post on Facebook that included two videos of Cortez walking on a street and chasing after vehicle.

There is a lot of discussion on social media among friends of Cortez on what happened that night.

Rivera said that these videos were taken on the same night that Cortez died. She also mentioned that his wallet and phone were taken from him that night of the accident.

Rivera mentions that she would never wish this upon any family and wants answers about what happened before Cortez walked across the street.

Rivera is raising money for Cortez’s funeral expenses. The link for more information is in the transcript.

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LINK to videos

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