On average, a New York City pedestrian is killed by a car about every three days. It happened again on Friday, when six-year-old Clarente Turner (right) and his mother were hit by a runaway SUV as they stood in a median, holding hands, at Kings Highway and E. 95th St. in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The child died at the scene; his mother was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
In the 18 months or so that I’ve worked for Streetsblog, I’ve read countless reports of pedestrian fatalities. The Daily News account of Clarente’s death may be the first to leave me physically shaking.
The badly injured mom screamed, "My baby! Oh, my baby!" as she
struggled to reach out to her only child lying nearby in a pool of
blood, witnesses said.
The crash brought people on the busy street running to help. "You could
see right away it was bad," said one man. "You could see he was going." …
"You know the last thing he said was, ‘Mommy, can I get something to eat?’ That was it and he was gone," the father said.
son was very quiet and very smart. He liked to play, but he liked to
read too. He just started school. This is very bad for me and for all
of us. We can’t believe it."
A witness quoted by the News said the driver of the SUV was trying to make the light when she rammed another car, bounced off and spun into Shawna Spaulding and her little boy. Yet, as sure as the sun will soon rise to another story of another pedestrian death, there is the inevitable, unbelievable absolution of fault:
Police said they were investigating but did not believe the drivers broke any laws.
The News ran a follow up piece about angry residents demanding improvements at the intersection where Clarente died, but there were no articles questioning how a six-year-old child could be struck and killed by an out-of-control vehicle with no culpability. In all likelihood, there won’t be. If this story remains true to form, aside from a possible report on his funeral, the case of Clarente Turner’s death is now closed.
Also this weekend, the News published a story on a Brooklyn pedestrian who was struck by a cyclist and later died from her injuries. According to the News, 38-year-old Nasreem Hossain was hit on September 19 as she stood in the crosswalk on 12th Ave. at Dahill Road. Hossain hit her head on the pavement and never regained consciousness. Her family removed her from life support late last week.
Police told Howlader Hossain (above) that no charges would be filed against the cyclist because his wife was crossing against the light at the time of the collision. Rather than take the PD’s word at face value — the de facto standard when a pedestrian dies at the hands of a motorist — the News for once injects an editorial voice into its pedestrian fatality reportage, beginning with the headline: "No justice for Brooklyn mother of two struck down by bicyclist." The story continues:
When a bicyclist slammed into mother-of-two Nasreem Hossain as she crossed a Brooklyn street, her husband trusted that the law was on their side. …
"There should be a severe punishment," said Howlader Hossain, 54, her husband. "This is not an accident. He could have moved out of the way." …
Nasreem Hossain stood in the crosswalk on 12th Ave. and Dahill Road, looking out for cars, but not bikes.
The cyclist ran right into her, knocking her to the road where she hit her head.
No justice. Trusted that the law was on their side. There should be severe punishment. This is not an accident. Ran right into her. This is how most pedestrian — and cyclist — fatalities deserve to be reported. Where is the outrage over Clarente Turner? Or Alexander Toulouse? Assam Naveed? Hope Miller? James Rice?
It seems the News, at least, only believes justice is warranted in the extremely rare instance when a pedestrian is dead and no cars are involved.
Photos: New York Daily News