In Memoriam

Each year, scores of pedestrians and cyclists die on New York City streets, while thousands are injured. Though the total number of road fatalities is trending down, those who get around the city on foot and by bike have seen their casualty rate rise.

Incidents of vehicle-inflicted violence are so frequent that many go unreported in the papers or on TV news, even when the outcome is death. Based on Streetsblog coverage, media stories and reader accounts, what follows is a record of those known to have lost their lives in 2009.

The victims listed below were killed on their way to and from work, church, or the corner store, while taking their dogs for a walk or coming home from a birthday party. They were grandparents, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, best friends. Many died alone or anonymously, their names never appearing in any public forum. Others were mortally wounded within sight of loved ones. With few exceptions, thanks to lax enforcement and scattershot prosecution of weak traffic laws, their killers are behind the wheel today. Of the 66 pedestrians, seven cyclists and one wheelchair user known to have died since January, in only 12 cases was the driver reportedly charged for taking a life.

As this list is undoubtedly incomplete, please use the comments to share remembrances of those named here, and the names and stories of those we missed.

memoriam_array.jpgSuzette Blanco, Janine Brawer, Miguel Colon, Yvette Diaz
  • Howard Adrian, 84, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 23 on Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Ibrihim Ahmed, 9, Pedestrian, Killed Jan. 6 in Queens; Driver Charged With Suspended License (Streetsblog 1, 2, 3)
  • Suzette Blanco, 20, Pedestrian, Killed June 7 in the Bronx; 1 Driver Charged With DWI and Leaving Scene, 1 Driver Hit-and-Run (News, Post)
  • Janine Brawer, 17, Pedestrian, Died Nov. 19 on Staten Island; Drivers Not Charged (Advance)
  • Donald Bryan, 31, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens Aug. 23; Driver Not Charged (News, Courier)
  • Guido Salvador Carabajo-Jara, 26, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 11 in Queens; Drivers Not Charged (City Room 1, 2)
  • Francisco Chapul, 21, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens Nov. 14; 1 Driver Hit-and-Run, 2 Drivers Not Charged (Post, NY1)
  • Miguel Colon, 37, Pedestrian, Killed July 12 in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Manslaughter, Homicide (NYT, News)
  • Angela D’Ambrose, 15, Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 8 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Post, News)
  • Concetta DiBenedetto, 78, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens Nov. 19; Driver Not Charged (Post)
  • Yvette Diaz, 28, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 15 in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Li Qun Fang, 43, Pedestrian, Killed March 12 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (News 1, 2

memoriam_2.jpgConcetta DiBenedetto, Li Qun Fang, Marilyn Feng, Paula Jimenez
  • Marilyn Feng, 26, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 7 in Manhattan; Driver [Jersey City PD] Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (News, Post)
  • Kyle Francis, 13, Pedestrian, Killed May 18 in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News, Post)
  • Joshua Ganzfried, 9, Pedestrian, Killed Sept. 12 in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Suspended License (News, Post)
  • JoAnne Hayden-Weissman, 55, Pedestrian, Killed April 16 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Linda Hewson, 50, Pedestrian, Killed Sept. 26 in Manhattan; Driver Driver Charged With Manslaughter, DWI (Post, MT)
  • Javier Jackson, 79, Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 8 in Manhattan; Driver [NYPD] Not Charged (Post, News, NY1)
  • Hugo Janssen, 73, Pedestrian, Killed Dec. 13 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News, Post, NY1)
  • Paula Jimenez, 34, Pedestrian, Died Aug. 30 in Queens; Driver Charged With Homicide (News, Post)
  • Jerome Johnson, 48, Pedestrian, Killed June 12 in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run, Charges Unknown (News, Post)
  • Seth Kahn, 22, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 4 in Manhattan; Driver [MTA Bus] Charged for Failure to Yield (Streetsblog)
  • Matthew Kim, 30, Pedestrian, Killed July 3 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (Post, News)
  • Violetta Krzyzak, 38, Pedestrian, Killed April 27 in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter, Homicide (Streetsblog 1, 2)
memoriam_3.jpgJames Langergaard, Harry Lewner, Diego Martinez, Eliseo Martinez
  • James Langergaard, 38, Cyclist, Killed Aug. 14 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Harry Lewner, 58, Pedestrian, Killed Dec. 17 in Brooklyn; 1 Driver Charged With Leaving Scene, 1 Driver Not Charged (NY1, Gothamist)
  • Vivian Long, 73, Pedestrian, Killed May 26 in Manhattan; Driver [Access-A-Ride] Not Charged (News)
  • Diego Martinez, 3, Pedestrian, Killed Jan. 22 in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (NYT, Streetsblog)
  • Eliseo Martinez, 32, Cyclist, Killed Sept. 7 in Brooklyn; No Known Media Reports (Ghost Bikes)
  • Virginia McKibbin, 65, Pedestrian, Killed Dec. 2 in Brooklyn; Driver [MTA Bus] Not Charged (Post, NY1)
  • Julian Miller, 45, Cyclist, Killed Sept. 18 in Brooklyn; Motorcyclist Also Killed (The Local 1, 2)
  • Virginia Montalvo, 71, Pedestrian, Killed April 7 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (News, NYT)
  • Hayley Ng, 4, Pedestrian, Killed Jan. 22 in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (NYT, Streetsblog
  • Drana Nikac, 67, Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 30 in the Bronx; Driver [Off-Duty NYPD] Charged With DWI, Homicide (R’dale Press)
  • Robert Ogle, 16, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 1 in Queens; Driver Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (News, NYT, Post)
  • Axel Pablo, 8, Pedestrian, Killed Aug. 13 in Manhattan; Driver [Yellow Cab] Not Charged (Post, News)
memoriam_4.jpgJulian Miller, Drana Nikac, Hayley Ng, Robert Ogle
  • Alex Paul, 20, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 1 in Queens; Driver Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (News, NYT, Post
  • Nathan Pakow, 47, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 26 on Staten Island; Driver Charged With Homicide (Streetsblog)
  • Pablo Pasaras, 27, Cyclist, Killed Aug. 8 in Queens; Driver Charged With Homicide (Streetsblog, Gazette)
  • Sonya Powell, 40-42, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 27 in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene and Suspended License (News, Post, NY1, WABC)
  • Ysemny Ramos, 29, Pedestrian, Killed March 27 in Manhattan; Driver Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (NYT, News)
  • Solange Raulston, 33, Cyclist, Killed Dec. 13 in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News, Post, Bklyn Paper, Gothamist)
  • Luis Rivera, 22, Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 31 in the Bronx; Driver [MTA Bus] Not Charged (AMNY, News)
  • Lillian Sabados, 77, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 25 on Staten Island; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene and Suspended License
  • Peter Sabados, 78, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 25 on Staten Island; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene and Suspended License (NYT)
  • Edith Schaller, 87-88, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 30 in Brooklyn; Drivers Not Charged (News, Post)
  • Susanne Schnitzer, 61, Pedestrian, Killed April 8 in Manhattan; No Known Media Reports (NYT, Streetsblog)
  • Juan Sifuentes, 67, Pedestrian, Killed July 15 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (AP)
memoriam_5.jpgAxel Pablo, Nathan Pakow, Sonya Powell, Solange Raulston
  • Matvey Smolovich, 25, Pedestrian, Killed May 26 in Brooklyn; Driver [School Bus] Not Charged (News)
  • Catorino Solis, 48, Pedestrian, Killed Dec. 21 in Manhattan; Driver Charged for Unlicensed Operation and Moving Violations (News)
  • Andrzej Suchorzepka, 48, Pedestrian, Killed Aug. 2 in Queens; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Dan Valle, 26, Cyclist, Killed Feb. 18 in Brooklyn; No Known Media Reports (MTR)
  • Vionique Valnord, 32, Pedestrian, Killed Sept. 27 in Brooklyn; Driver [NYPD] Charged With Manslaughter, DWI (NYT)
  • Dorothea Wallace, 38, Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 3 in Brooklyn; Driver [Off-Duty NYS Corrections] Charged With Suspended License (News, Post, NY1)
  • Fred Wilson, 66, Pedestrian, Killed Sept. 12 in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News, Post, Post)
  • Hui Wu, 26, Pedestrian, Killed Feb. 20 in Brooklyn; Driver [MTA Bus] Not Charged (News, NY1)
  • Stanislaw Zak, 65, Pedestrian, Killed June 9 in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Manslaughter, Homicide (News, Post)
  • Unnamed Cyclist, 72, Killed June 27 in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News, Bklyn Paper)  
  • Tina [Surname Unknown], Pedestrian, Killed Sept. 12 in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Jan. 21 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (Post)
memoriam_6.jpgYsemny Ramos, Peter and Lillian Sabados, Edith Schaller, Hui Wu
  • Two Unnamed Pedestrians, Killed April 8 in Manhattan and Queens; Hit-and-Runs (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 20, Killed April 15 in Manhattan; Driver Charged With DWI (Post)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed May 15 in Manhattan; Driver [Yellow Cab] Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed May 26 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed July 26 in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Aug. 2 in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run (NYT, News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Aug. 9 in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Oct. 22 in Queens; No Known Media Reports (Gothamist)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 15 in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 48, Killed Nov. 15 in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run, Driver Not Charged (Post)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, Killed Nov. 15 in the Bronx; 1 Driver Hit-and-Run, 1 Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 79-80, Killed Dec. 15 in Brooklyn; Driver [Ambulance] Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Wheelchair User, Killed Sept. 1 in Brooklyn; Charges Unknown (News
  • Thank you Streetsblog for doing this. Long before I ever thought about automobiles as a threat to the environment, I knew that automobiles were a public health & safety disaster.

    The joke is that government seems to take an active interest in regulating automobile usage – registering cars, licensing drivers, tough drunk driving laws, getting points for moving violations, etc. But at every turn, the system fails at keeping bad drivers off the road. It’s like system is just about checking a box on a bureaucratic form and raising revenue rather than seeing this as having a public health & safety mission (which was the original intent).

    Behind this is the ethos of society that driving is a personal right akin to free speech or worship (or even gun ownership), not a privilege granted to those that have earned it.

    New York City has tougher laws on ownership of handguns (a Constitutionally defined right) than on driving (which is not a right and government has total control over).

  • This is a somber reminder of how much more work we have ahead of us to make our streets safe for everyone.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Thank you from me also. I was going to suggest something like an annual carnage. Seeing all of it really makes it hit home as an epidemic, not a series of isolated incidents, an epidemic that has gone on for 100 years.

  • (my apologies for such a long post)

    Amplifying on this is that this direct violence is just the tip of the iceberg. The indirect violence also called the structural violence of transportation systems based on cars is many times larger both globally and locally.

    http://www.livablestreets.com/streetswiki/structural-violence

    Structural violence and direct violence are highly interdependent. Structural violence inevitably produces conflict and often direct violence . . . . The violence in structural violence is attributed to the specific organizations of society that injure or harm individuals or masses of individuals.” — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_violence

    An example of the structural violence of transportation systems based on cars
    . . ., a 2008 report prepared for the World Bank concluded that “the most important factor” in rising global food prices “was the large increase in biofuels production in the U.S. and the E.U.” High food prices may be a hardship for American consumers, but they are downright deadly in poor African nations.
    “A Growing Disaster”, RUSSELL HARDING, The New York Times, November 28,2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/opinion/28harding.html

    “As a result of persistently high food prices, hunger is spreading. One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to reduce hunger and malnutrition. In the mid-1990s, the number of people in this category had fallen to 825 million. But instead of continuing to decline, the number of hungry started to edge upward, reaching 915 million at the end of 2008. It then jumped to over 1 billion in 2009. With business as usual, I see a combination of the projected growth in population, the planned diversion of grain to produce fuel for cars, spreading shortages of irrigation water, and other trends combining to push the number of hungry people to 1.2 billion or more by 2015.4

    “Direct violence is horrific, but its brutality usually gets our attention: we notice it, and often respond to it. Structural violence, however, is almost always invisible, embedded in ubiquitous social structures, normalized by stable institutions and regular experience. Structural violence occurs whenever people are disadvantaged by political, legal, economic or cultural traditions. Because they are longstanding, structural inequities usually seem ordinary; the way things are and always have been.”

    — “Structural Violence: Introduction” in Daniel Christie, Richard Wagner and Deborah DuNann Winter (eds.), “Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century” (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001), p. 99.

    http://www.livablestreets.com/streetswiki/structural-violence

  • Shemp

    Glenn, you are right about the efficacy of driving regulation. In fact, your point is a great retort to the next twit who calls for licensing cyclists.

    But you are wrong that driving is not a right. It may not be written down, but the legal system has become oriented, along with the omnipresence of cars in American daily life, to function entirely in the vein of right-to-drive.

  • Instead of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)

    We need MAAD (Mothers Against Automobile Dependency)

    I’m not a mom, but if I had children, I would want to raise them in a carfree environment.

  • Shemp – I agree that right-to-drive is to societal preference right now and thus we have weak laws that are rarely enforced. But there is nothing like the second Amendment to constitutionally block laws to tighten restrictions.

    Thus, if we can change the societal preference, we can really change the weak laws or get the existing ones more tightly enforced.

    But this is a massive undertaking that would go to the heart of the auto-culture. It would take a truly national approach the same way that MADD did on drunk driving and it would require police, prosecutors, law-makers, insurance companies, DMVs and local authorities to come together against “dangerous driving as being more than drunk driving.

  • Jamie

    Thank you for this. Yvette Diaz was like a sister to me. So much more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies…. She was killed on the Grand Concourse, a strip where cars seem to be able to disobey every traffic law and get away with it. Cameras everywhere and yet none work efficiently. It is disgusting how these murderers are able to get back behind that wheel and endanger lives again without even the fear of being caught.

  • vnm

    Thank you Streetsblog.

  • vnm

    Unnamed Pedestrian, 45, Killed June 30 in Brooklyn; No Known Online Media Reports (Streetsblog comment)

  • @Brad: “Vehicle-inflicted Violence”! Yes, let’s use that term, and please never “accidents”.

    @Christa: Nice, but I suggest we start thinking about cars as a sub-category of automobiles, i.e. automobiles used inappropriately and therefore by definition the result of a dependency. So… cars are heroin and carshare is methadone, with automobiles being…

  • @Todd Can you paint me a picture of this? I understand why it’s hard for many to understand the concept. Yes, there is a time and place for automobile use. Generally, I try to stay positive and just promote bicycle transportation.

  • The violence of transportation systems based on cars is what allows them to persist as local transportation monopolies commanding huge amounts of badly needed resources and generating huge amounts of revenue streams.

    http://www.livablestreets.com/streetswiki/systemic-violence-of-transportation-systems-based-on-cars

  • #13, gecko (continued),

    Ultimately, transportation systems based on cars will self-destruct if allowed to continue.

    It is just question if they will be allowed to cause the destruction of civilization as we know it; if they haven’t already been key in causing its destruction just like in the movie DOA (Dead on Arrival).

    http://www.livablestreets.com/streetswiki/systemic-violence-of-transportation-systems-based-on-cars

  • christine

    Thank You Streetsblog for this sobering recount. This morning Bloomberg gloated that the #of murders is the lowest in many years. As we all know he forgot to include the ones above, which are considered ” acceptable” by our society.

    Culture is the key. This society has for ever relied on the stronger killing the weaker, and the stronger taking land from the weaker.

    If we do not pay attention we pedestrian and bicyclists will all end up in a reservation with a casino.

  • Homage to Streetsblog: http://www.WorldStreets.org in today’s issue pays homage to Streetsblog and all concerned for this magnificent and oh so important action. In fact we go beyond that: we are recommending that our colleagues in the many cities around the world who tune into World Streets from time to time give thought as to how they can organize something along these lines in their cities. Never underestimate the power of active and responsible citizens.

  • The world’s major industries are deeply entrenched in automobile transportation: insurance, finance, oil, electronics, auto, advertising.

    We have seen how hard it is to eliminate the middleman to achieve universal healthcare in this country but, the cost is even higher if we don’t move civilization to sensible transportation that will not only be much safer, convenient, practical, low-cost, but will have probably less than 1% of the evironmental footprint as cars and be a major solution mitigating and adapting to the climate change crisis.

  • RUTH SANTOS

    I AM THE MOTHER OF YVETTE DIAZ, KILLED 11/15/2009–HIT-RUN. THIS IS 2015 AND TILL THIS DAY DRIVER STILL OUT THERE.