Cruz Ceferino Novillo Astrada, in an image shared on social networks.
A man died around 5 a.m. Sunday in Buenos Aires after being hit by a truck on Avenida 9 de Julio, the Argentine capital’s main street. He was 25 years old, living on the streets and the police still couldn’t identify him because he had no identification papers. The driver did not stop to help and fled. Five hours later he appeared at a police station with his lawyer. He was identified as Cruz Ceferino Novillo Astrada, 24 years old, son of Eduardo Novillo Astrada, former polo champion and former president of the national federation of this sport, and Ernestina Anchorena, landscape gardener and heiress to one of the most important landowning families in Argentina. .
The circumstances of the incident are still unclear. Police video shows the man crossing the avenue south with no traffic and beginning to cross the stretch north as a few cars pass in front of him. He didn’t turn around and took a few steps right next to the pedestrian walkway when the truck hit him in the first lane. Novillo Astrada ran over him and dragged him several meters until his body lay in the middle of the avenue. The traffic around them continued.
Novillo Astrada was arrested after appearing at a police station with his lawyer and charged with murder. As police investigate the incident, the story has left the country in turmoil due to the ancestry of the driver, who was investigated by the judiciary on Monday. His lawyer, Rafael Cúneo Libarona, spent much of Monday speaking to local media.
“The driver was coming from a meeting with friends, stopped at the traffic light in Colorado and drove off when he got the green light. The accident occurred 20 meters after the traffic lights, in a place where there was no pedestrian path, that is, the pedestrian was not allowed to cross, but he suddenly crossed the motorist, who became afraid,” he told the Télam agency. In another interview with the radio station Radio con Vos, he discussed the pedestrian’s responsibility: “This man comes from the opposite way, let’s say, as if he were a zombie. I don’t say it in a derogatory way, the picture shows it. He might have been hit by the cars on the way to the obelisk, but he keeps running.”
“There are several reasons why he didn’t stop,” the lawyer explained in the radio interview. According to his defense attorney, Novillo Astrada feared an attack and therefore gave up trying to stop and help the man he had run over. The bad memory of the death of his twin brother in another car accident also influenced his decision, said the lawyer. Justo Novillo Estrada died in June 2021 after crashing his car into a bus in Buenos Aires province.
Justo, his mother said in an interview in May this year, crashed head-on into the bus near a toll booth about 100 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. He was 22 years old. “He had gotten the job of his life, as a fly fishing guide in Montana. The next day he left for the United States,” Ernestina Anchorena, a landscape gardener and rancher, told La Nación newspaper. Cruz had followed in the footsteps of his father, the 2003 Open champion polo player and until mid-2021 president of the national federation of the favorite sport of Argentine ranchers.
Cruz Novillo Astrada began playing polo in La Aguada, his father’s family’s country house, 80 kilometers from Buenos Aires. In June he was part of a winning team at the Royal Windsor Cup, one of England’s most traditional and oldest tournaments. He is now awaiting the conclusion of his trial, which the judge has allowed him to remain free.