In Memoriam

By many measures, 2011 was a bleak year for advocates of traffic safety. Where 2010 offered hope with the passage of new laws designed to hold reckless drivers accountable for harming vulnerable street users and the seating of a district attorney who pledged to do the same, this year saw those same laws go all but unenforced and erased any lingering notions that a top prosecutor might finally treat traffic violence as a deadly epidemic.

Meanwhile, a war on a model street safety project waged by politically-connected NIMBYs and their media lapdogs took its toll as planned safety improvements were scaled back, and the wishes of those powerful few proved to be the City Council’s commands. The coarse and inept handling of a tragic cyclist death in Brooklyn confirmed the worst suspicions regarding NYPD protocols and prejudices. Juries handed down junk verdicts, joining judges and prosecutors in excusing killer drivers with barely a slap on the wrist. The state’s highest court, in the words of a traffic justice pioneer, is in the process of “systematically decriminalizing” cases of death by motor vehicle.

Still, the fight for safer streets pushes on. The tenacious family of Mathieu Lefevre has shone a light on NYPD malfeasance, and Transportation Alternatives has launched a comprehensive probe into how the department investigates crashes that result in serious injury or death. Early in the new year Streetsblog will conduct a thorough review of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s record on traffic crime. New Yorkers from all walks of life of continue to demand better conditions for walking and cycling. For every James Vacca there is a Melissa Mark-Viverito. And each year NYC DOT re-engineers more streets for greater safety, as evidenced by projects like the pedestrian-oriented overhaul of Grand Army Plaza and the city’s first neighborhood 20 mph zone in Claremont.

What follows is our accounting of New York pedestrians and cyclists known to have lost their lives in 2011. Please use the comments to share remembrances of those named here, and the names and stories of those we missed.

Erica Abbott, Moshe Adler, Zhaneya Butcher, Aileen Chen.
  • Erica Abbott, 29, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog, Gothamist)
  • Mosha Adler, 83, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Maritza Atkins, 68, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; No Known Charges (Times Ledger 1, 2)
  • Jeffrey Axelrod, 52, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (Gothamist, Voice, Benepe’s)
  • Robert Bond, 53, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run, Top Charge Unknown (DNA, Post 1, 2)
  • Anthony Buscemi, 68, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (News, QChron)
  • Zhaneya Butcher, 6, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Top Charge Unknown (News, QChron)
  • Yolanda Casal, 78, Pedestrian; Killed in Manhattan; Driver Fined $500 (Streetsblog)
  • Cesar Cepedes, 44, Killed in Queens; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (News, NY1)
  • Jerrold Chaleff, 71, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Not Charged (Post)
  • Aileen Chen, 16, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog, Gothamist)

Tyre Chisholm, Daniela D'Ercole, Marilyn Dershowitz, Ray Deter
  • Tyre Chisholm, 22, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver [NYPD] Charged With Homicide (News 1, 2)
  • Margaret Choberka, 82, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Patricia Cuevas, 51, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog, The Lo-Down)
  • Daniela D’Ercole, 32, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (DNA)
  • Marilyn Dershowitz, 68, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene (Streetsblog, Post)
  • Ray Deter, 53, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (DNA, News)
  • Nicolas Djandji, 24, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Gothamist, Ghost Bike)
  • Pat Dolan, 72, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Chris Doyle, 29, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog, News)
  • Aron Dudkin, 80, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog)
Nicolas Djandji, Pat Dolan, Kira Goddard, Clara Heyworth
  • Moses Englender, 4, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (News)
  • Kira Goddard, 13, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Killed in Crash (NYT, News, CBS)
  • Joseph Granati, 39, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Gillian Hall, 56, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Clara Heyworth, 28, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With DWI, Unlicensed, Assault (The Local)
  • Awsaf Islam, 15, Killed in Queens; No Known Charges (News 1, 2)
  • Toyia Jones, 40, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Hit-and-Run (News, Obit)
  • Steve Jorgenson, 22, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (News, NY1)
  • Raymond Larsen, 46, Killed on Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (Post, Advance)
  • Mathieu Lefevre, 30, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Streetsblog 1, 2, 3)
Awsaf Islam, Toyia Jones, Steve Jorgenson, Mathieu Lefevre
  • Ilia Lopez, 58, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run (Daily Mail, CBS, DNA)
  • Theauther Love, 87, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver [NYPD] Not Charged (Streetsblog)
  • Fan Meng, 77, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (Times Ledger)
  • Nilo Montilla, 57, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Issued Summonses (Streetsblog, R’dale Press)
  • James Pierre, 23, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Courier Life)
  • Denise Pierrelus, 65, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Bklyn Daily, Canarsie Courier)
  • Andrew Ramirez, 2, Pedestrian, Killed in Queens; Driver Not Charged (News, Post)
  • Steven Reese, 58, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; No Known Charges (DNA)
  • Laurence Renard, 35, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Fined $500 (Streetsblog)
  • Thomas Riley, 23, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Charged With DWI, Homicide, Leaving Scene (Post, News)
Ilia Lopez, Theauther Love, Laurence Renard, Russell Smith
  • Ronald Simpson, 43, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; One Driver Flees, Second Driver Not Charged (NY1, CBS)
  • Russell Smith, 11, Pedestrian, Killed in the Bronx; No Known Charges (News, Post)
  • Chandana Asoka Sundarawadu, 51, Killed on Staten Island; Driver Charged With Assault (Advance)
  • Stephen Tanenbaum, 62, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Homicide (NYT, DNA)
  • Kok Hoe Tee, 55, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver [NYPD Auxiliary] Not Charged (Streetsblog, DNA, ABC)
  • Luis Torres, 22, Cyclist, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run, Charges Unknown (News)
  • Dominick Trevisano, 51, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Terence Tsao, 17, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (News)
  • Caroline Tunage, 56, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (Post, Patch)
  • Meilech Weiss, 62, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Post, Vos Iz Neias)
Kok Hoe Tee, Luis Torres, Dominick Trevisano
  • Qi Yu Weng, 28, Cyclist, Killed in Manhattan; Hit-and-Run, No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (NYT, Post)
  • Leonia White, 89, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (DNA, Post, Gothamist)
  • Timothy White, 29, Pedestrian, Killed in Manhattan; Driver Charged With Manslaughter (NYT, Post, Gothamist)
  • Andrzei Wiesniuk, 70, Cyclist, Killed in Queens; Driver Charged With Suspended License (Streetsblog, News)
  • Aniya Williams, 13, Pedestrian, Killed on Staten Island; Driver Not Charged (News, Post)
  • David John Williams, 63, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; Driver Not Charged (News)
  • Katherine Yun, 25, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [City Sanitation] (News, NYT)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 54, Killed Feb. 14 in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog, DNA)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed Mar. 18 in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Cyclist Killed Mar. 25 in Manhattan; No Known Charges [MTA Bus] (NY1)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed Mar. 31 in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Streetsblog)
Meilech Weiss, Aniya Williams, Unidentified Cyclist Killed July 18 in the Bronx
Meilech Weiss, Aniya Williams, Unidentified Cyclist Killed July 18 in the Bronx
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed June 21 in Brooklyn; Driver Charged With Hit-and-Run (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed June 25 in Queens; Driver Charged With Suspended License (Post)
  • Unidentified Cyclist Killed July 18 in the Bronx; No Known Charges (Post)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 25, Killed Aug. 21 in Queens; No Known Charges (Post)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed Aug. 27 in Queens; No Known Charges (Post)
  • Unidentified Pedestrian Killed Sep. 18 in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (News)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 86, Killed Oct. 26 in Manhattan; No Known Charges (Streetsblog, DNA)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed Oct. 27 in Brooklyn; No Known Charges (Midwood Blog)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 58, Killed Dec. 2 in Manhattan; Driver [Motorcyclist] Not Charged (AP)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian Killed Dec. 8 in Brooklyn; No Known Charges [Motorcyclist] (Streetsblog)
  • Unnamed Cyclist, 17, Killed Dec. 16 in Manhattan; Driver Not Charged (DNA)
  • Unnamed Pedestrian, 73, Killed Dec. 20 in Manhattan; No Known Charges (DNA)
  • Andrew

    Thank you.

    Meanwhile, the Sheepshead Bites commenters are arguing against speed cameras, insisting that there’s nothing wrong with driving 50 mph on a residential street at night, blaming any pedestrian who might have reason to cross the street at midnight.

    http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2011/12/mta-responds-and-manhattan-beach-neighborhood-association-wants-red-light-cameras/

  • Komanoff

    Thank you Brad & Streetsblog. Each time I think I’m getting inured to reading about victims, your coverage brings me up short. The photos are stunning, and heartbreaking.

  • Thanks Brad and Summer for keeping all this in front of us, no matter how hard we want to look away.

  • Eric McClure

    Donna Fountain, 38, Pedestrian, Killed in Brooklyn at 7:30 a.m. Christmas morning with a list of her dreams in her pocket; Hit-and-Run (News, NY1)
    Unnamed Pedestrian, 23, Killed Dec. 26 in the Bronx; Hit-and-Run (NY1)

    What kind of sick person runs someone over and doesn’t stop? On Christmas?

    Thanks, Streetsblog and Brad and Summer, for bearing witness.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That looks like a rainbow coalition in death, with every type of person who lives in the city included.  Thanks for keeping track of these deaths, so those affected won’t be treated as if they were nothing.

  • dporpentine

    I count 74 people on this list. A terrible toll.

  • Ben from bed stuy

    . Here in New York City, no one is safe from vehicular violence. Being old or young, male or female, rich or poor, mainstream or alternative, religious or secular, it doesn’t matter. Any human life, of any type, can be cut short for the simple mistake of what? Walking or biking, and getting in the way of a dangerous driver.
    Does anybody know when this year’s ghost bike ride will bee?

  • fj

    Heart-breaking vision of continuing preventable tragedy

    Disturbingly reminiscent of those pictures posted all over New York City immediately after 9/11 of loved ones lost. 

  • Brooklynite

    It is absolutely insane that we allow our transportation system to kill this many people. If buses or subways caused this many “accidents” we’d make shut them down until they could be made safer.

  • Debbie

    This is ridiculous!!  I guess maybe witnesses need to pull the driver out of the car and start beating him, then maybe something will happen (probably the witnesses will get arrested)
    What is going on there?  I know things are hectic in the big city, but lives are lost.  Maybe more publicity to shame the police into doing something will help.  Try to get some funds from a wealthy person to “advertise” on television these crimes.

  • Glenn

    And these are the ones that even get press attention. One of my neighbors was the victim of a hit and run around the corner from our building on 122nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. She played tennis frequently was a retired bus dispatcher, and she tended the garden outside our building. There was no mention of the accident in her obituary(, but from what I understand it was a horrific scene and she actually held on for over a week in the hospital until there was no hope of a recovery. So sad.

  • Glenn

    The obituary for my neighbor is on this website: http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/BarbaraBartlett/Homepage.aspx

  • carma

    @6f4964dbaaf7cb28a107f7adf6596162:disqus For saying those actions.You are no better than the drivers who ran over the pedestrians.  “Oh sure.  lets just rob more of the wealthy while we are at it too…”

  • fj

    This is the first year that, nationally, more law enforcement personnel have been killed by guns instead of in traffic accidents; something like 68 (as heard on NPR).

  • JamesR

    So, so sad… I gotta admit that this year took a lot of the wind out of my sails as an advocate for livable streets. On an anecdotal level for me personally: between the Central Park ticketing blitz and later getting hit by a car while riding (was incredibly lucky to receive only minor injuries), it was awfully demoralizing. Thank you for the vital work that Streetsblog does.

  • carma

    its funny.  today while riding, i actually crashed into another bicyclist.  i was going around 23 mph on ocean pkwy when another bicyclist decides to merge into the bike path perpendicularly midblock.  i slammed on the brakes as hard as i can, but we still hit at maybe 10 mph.  fortunately we were both okay.  now the difference between this situation and an infraction with a car was.  we were both quite apologetic, making sure both of us were okay.  noone was hurt, and no damage to our bikes.  he did admit he was wrong for going in midpath, but it goes to show you bicyclists maybe are a little more civil even when bad things happen.

  • CB

    What accounts for the difference in treatment between the majority of these cases, in which no charges were made against the driver, and the few cases in which the driver was charged? Also, where lesser charges, such as DWI and suspended license, were filed, why not also homicide or manslaughter?

  • eric

    Thank you for bearing witness.  It is important work you do.

  • John

    Our thoughts are always of her…..the bright light that is Erica.

  • Thomas Burcher

    Where are the city police monitoring the streets in these boroughs?If this is true, someone , lazy cops or a lazy judge aren’t doing there job. Since when killing another human being is treated as a misdomeaner, These drivers’ are not paying any attention. It used to be, people were arrested for planning another’s death for profit; now, reckless drivers do it for nothing!

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