A witness said that before Martinez was hit by the bus, a taxi struck her and took off. But police could not confirm that detail and said no criminality was suspected.
That fateful night, Martinez told Samaroo she could go home early to watch the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony on television.
“She said to me, ‘Don’t worry Natalie. I got this,’ ” Samaroo recalled. “I said, ‘Be careful, it’s cold outside.’ ”
Martinez was a native of the Dominican Republic, and her mother in that country was stunned by news of the death.
“She’s in very bad shape. She kept saying it’s her only daughter. She’s devastated,” said Jose Perez, a friend of Martinez. He added that every month, Martinez sent $200 to her mom.
Martinez was declared dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.
Earlier in the evening, a pair of hit-and-runs left two Queens women dead and their families devastated.
Beria, 30, was crossing 111th Ave. near 147th St. to give her nephew, Bhudesh Misir, a ride home. A white vehicle came careening down the avenue and struck Beria, police said.
Bhudesh, 16, said the impact sent her flying three car lengths through the air.
By Mark Morales, Irving Dejohn And Stephen Rex Brown / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS