An 81-year-old man was fatally struck by two drivers on Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie on Friday, less than a block from where a teenager was killed by a motorist in 2010.
According to reports, Luis Ruiz was crossing the street at Avenue J at around 8:57 p.m. when he was hit by the driver of a Mitsubishi Montero SUV. As he lay on the pavement, he was run over by a second motorist in a dark-colored sedan, who did not stop. Ruiz died at the scene.
Police and witnesses said Ruiz was crossing against the light. No published reports that we could find made note of driver speed, but NBC reported that the Mitsubishi driver “slammed on [the] brakes” before striking Ruiz. Police are reportedly looking for the driver who fled the scene. The driver of the Mitsubishi was not charged.
In November 2010, 13-year-old student Sarah Parris was struck and killed by a motorist on Rockaway Parkway in front of Canarsie High School, on the same block where Ruiz was hit. The driver who killed Parris rammed a parked car after striking her, causing enough damage to both vehicles to indicate excessive speed. No charges were filed.
Though NYPD and the media are quick to declare victims responsible for their own deaths, in reality most crashes that kill city pedestrians and cyclists occur as a result of drivers breaking traffic laws. Fault rarely has any bearing on whether motorists are held responsible for causing death and injury in New York City. This is often true even when the driver kills and leaves the scene.
This fatal crash occurred in the 69th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 69th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct or at St. Alban’s Church, 9408 Farragut Rd. Call the precinct at 718-257-6205 for information.
The City Council district where Luis Ruiz and Sarah Parris were killed is represented by Lew Fidler, whose most notable action concerning street safety as of late was a calculated show of bike lane skepticism. To encourage Fidler to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7286 or LFidler@council.nyc.gov.