Pedestrian Seriously Hurt By National Guard Truck Driver on Canal Street

Photo: Ben Fried

An unidentified man was struck by a National Guard truck driver at the intersection of Canal Street and Centre Street in Lower Manhattan at around 1:30 this afternoon. Witnesses seemed certain that the victim was killed, though an officer at the scene would only say that “a pedestrian got hit” and refused to provide further information.

Update: The victim, identified by DNAinfo as 82-year-old Kwok Fu of Flushing, has died of injuries sustained in the crash.

The truck, part of a convoy that had pulled over further north on Centre Street, was parked on Canal Street between Centre and Lafayette, with some of the victim’s belongings scattered in front of the cab. Witness Tim Coleman told Gothamist that the convoy had been heading west on Canal at the time of the crash. A member of the National Guard declined to discuss what the convoy was transporting.

According to FDNY, the victim was declared “likely to die,” which should trigger a police investigation, and transported to Bellevue Hospital. NYPD’s public information office could not confirm the status of the victim and had no further information at this time.

The convoy of National Guard trucks parked on Centre Street. Photo: Ben Fried

Brad Aaron contributed reporting to this post.

  • Anonymous

    Waiting for the NY Post to blame this on bike lanes. 

  • NYPD said that an elderly person, 86 years old, was killed by a National Guard truck at that same intersection today. Just grazed that on Twitter, could be a rumor. Would be sad either way… ironic that rescue crews, here to help, end up killing more people unintentionally because intentional reckless driving is normal here 

  • Clarence

    The traffic agent there told me it was horrible.  Said it looked to be an “old guy who got stuck crossing”.

  • Sounds like the victim might have been elderly. The witness I spoke to said the person who was taken away was “a very young man” but she could have been mistaken.

  • Clarence

    It’s a dangerous place.  I try to take alternate routes to Manhattan Bridge if I can.

  • Joe R.

    This is a terrible tragedy to be sure but I can’t necessary hold the National Guard to blame. Any convoy of rescue vehicles will generally be trying to get where they’re going as quickly as possible. As such, they’ll go through red lights and stop signs at speed to try and keep the convey together. Besides that, I’ll bet most of these drivers are rarely in places with a lot of pedestrians. For those reasons, the very rare times I’ve encountered such vehicles I just stay on the sidewalk until they’ve passed. The mayor probably should have given such advice in one of his post-Sandy news conferences.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Think of how many times now we’ve seen government vehicles kill the people they are meant to serve and protect: city sanitation trucks, police cruisers, ambulences, and now a National Guard vehicle.

  • william greenberg

    This is really very terrible incident, military forces has the main responsibility of providing secure and safe environment to the civilians.
    repossessed motorcycles

  • Joe R.

    Well, thinking about this a bit more, the NYPD should have been actively securing convoy routes instead of policing gas lines. If they had, this tragedy may not have happened.

  • Bree

    really? 6 national trucks going down centre and canal??!! I lived for 24years. My whole life, never drove down canal due to consist J-walkers. 6 trucks….one of the worst route to take.

  • jrab

    My condolences to the family of the deceased.

    The NY Army National Guard HQ, at 330 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham, NY 12110-3514 will by regulation complete an Army Ground Accident Report for this Class “A” accident (resulted in a death). Since the NG is on State Active Duty, this should be available once it’s created through FOIA via State channels.

    The AGAR should have all the information necessary to understand what happened, including witness statements. The document that you want to see is the DA Form 7566, the Composite Risk Management Worksheet for that activity. The risk assessment, as it’s called, is briefed to everyone participating in the convoy before it starts rolling. If the risk assessment does not include “Collision with pedestrian in roadway” as one of the hazards (along with “low light conditions,” “heavy traffic,” “sleepy driver,” and “poor road surface,” then it’s time for writing the Governor and State Adjutant General to complain about lack of attention to real-life safety issues.

  • 8302BS

    Military conyoys have right of way just like funeral precessionals do. We go through red lights, stop signs and anything else civilian traffic must comply to. It is unsafe for the convoy to get split up. Yes this is a tragic accident but people should be be aware of these laws. Living in New York is not an excuse for not looking before you cross the street.

  • 8302BS

    Common sense trumps anything. First thing you learn as a kid is look before you walk.

  • Real New Yorker

    “It is unsafe for the convoy to get split up.”
    Oh, really, 8302BS? Do you think this convoy was motoring through Baghdad or Kandahar? These bozos were driving in Lower Manhattan in the middle of a work day. How exactly would it have been “unsafe” for members of the convoy to stop at red lights and catch up with each other at their final destination? Please. 

    The horrific results — an elderly man splattered across the street like roadkill — make it completely clear what was “unsafe.” The National Guard was unsafe. The way they drive through the city is unsafe. Ignoring red lights and pedestrian right-of-way is unsafe. 

    Please go back to whatever rural or suburban county you came from. Your “help” and your version of “safety” is not needed or wanted in NYC. 

  • Morris Zapp

    Are you aware of these laws, @4719404198d2112af825e6545ccbe6b0:disqus ?

    VTL 1104: The driver of an emergency vehicle involved in an emergency operation may “[p]roceed past a steady red signal … but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.” A vehicle operator may “[e]xceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property.”

    VTL 1104: Laws pertaining to emergency operations “shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.”

    Law or no law, common sense should tell you that if an old man walks into the path of the truck you’re driving, you fucking stop.

  • Ian Turner

    @4719404198d2112af825e6545ccbe6b0:disqus : If “Common sense trumps everything”, wouldn’t it be common sense to hit the brakes instead of running people over?

  • Just Saying

    8302BS: Obviously you feel the need to defend the NG because you identify yourself with them. Besides the very good points everyone has made so far regarding your comment, have you also taken into consideration that that man was in his 80’s? Our 5 sense degrade over time as we age. Who’s to say he doesn’t solely rely on the traffic lights to cross the streets? Law is free from compassion, it does not think, it has no morals. But it’s made by people who should have all those things. If an elder women in her 80’s was crossing the street on her gree, but because of her limited mobility, didn’t get to the other side of the street before the light turns red for her. Does that mean the person driving the car can just run her over just because the law says it’s legal to go on a green? “Look before you walk” is not common sense, it’s a weak argument. The law shall not justify an innocent death.

  • 8302BS

    What you fail to realize is if it was a funeral precession no one would be saying anything. These people say that they were flying and I know for a fact that convoy speed was between 15-25 mph for this convoy. These people gave up this entire semester of school, being home with their new born baby and had to postpone a wedding that will cost them 15k because people needed assistance. They are not crooks, thieves, or rapist. They are not there to hurt anyone but to help. It was an accident. This unit got back from Afghanistan not even 5 months ago. To help American citizens they do not know. Regardless of your feelings the truck was not at fault. By law the convoy as right of was regardless of pedestrian right of way. And for the last comment our help is needed. If it wasn’t these people would not put their lives, families, school, and work on hold for $75 a day.

  • 8302BS

    I’m going out on a hunch that the man wasn’t standing in the road and the driver put on the gas. The eyewitnesses said he walked right in front of the truck. It’s called a 5 ton. Your not driving a small Honda. Stopping distance is much greater. Oh and the person who hit the man will now go through the rest of his life with nightmares. So think before you speak

  • Get Help for Your PTSD

    8302BS: Please go home. Your version of “help” isn’t wanted here. Perhaps we’re all just Afghans to you and this is just collateral damage. By the law of New York City, you were in the wrong. You killed an innocent man. I don’t know what you call it in Afghanistan but in America we call it manslaughter. Please, go home. 

  • 8302BS

    You are very ungrateful but you still may say what you want. It is a freedom you have because my fellow brothers and sisters are willing to put our lives on the line for it. The driver was not in the wrong by any law and that’s why they are not going to be and charges. I feel for the family that they will never see this man again. I can imagine how upset I would be if it was my family member. I also have compassion for the solider who was driving because they have to live with this every day of their life. It was an accident. That’s all I can say. I hope the other New Yorkers are not as ignorant as you when it comes to people putting their life on hold to help complete strangers. You will only be grateful when you are the one in need and I’m sure you would still have things to complain about. Someone just needs to give you a hug. I’m sorry your a miserable ungrateful person but just know I still would be willing to put my life on hold to help you even though you are not. Good day!

  • Guest

    @4719404198d2112af825e6545ccbe6b0:disqus I’m sure this man’s family is very grateful for the National Guard’s help.

    New York was not impacted by the hurricane as badly as other areas. Yes, some areas needed supplies, but rest assured there was no emergency to deliver them. There was most definite time to stop at one red light, or at the very least slow down and honk your horn.

  • This is Not Iraq

    @4719404198d2112af825e6545ccbe6b0:disqus It’s true. We are ungrateful for your “help” as is, I’m quite sure, the family of the man you killed. Speeding down Canal Street, running red lights and killing an innocent New Yorker is not “helping.” Please do us a favor and go home. 
    The Iraqis didn’t want this either….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWXonq5TKqU

  • Morris Zapp

    @4719404198d2112af825e6545ccbe6b0:disqus This will come as a shock to you, but you’re the one who is out of your depth.

    There will be no charges not because no laws were broken but because in New York City drivers are given carte blanche by lazy cops and feckless district attorneys to kill without consequence.

    This board treats all pedestrian deaths equally, whether the killer is driving a personnel carrier or a hearse or a Honda.

    You just have no idea what you’re talking about, and your Jesus complex is not helping.

  • it’s me

    I was actually waiting to cross Canal Street on the other side of the National Guards truck when the accident happened.  There is one important fact that was left out.  There was a taxi waiting to turn from Canal Street onto Centre Street as the National Guard trucks were traveling down Canal street in opposite direction.  When the light on Canal Street turned red, the taxi wanted to make the turn and cut in between the row of National Guard trucks.  The taxi’s notion to turn might had caused the truck driver involved in the accident to be hesitant to cross the intersection.  Unfortunately, the hesitant was enough of a gap which the old man decided to cross the street.  I felt really bad for not able to help as my offer to be a witness was not taken.  May the old man rest in peace. 

  • Nipowers

    I FIRST HAND saw this accident- I was in a car that was in the opposite lane facing the oncoming NG truck when it struck this elderly man.  It was a tragic tragic accident- one that hundreds of people witnessed in one of the busiest intersections in this city, one that this driver who fights for our country has to live with for the rest of his life and this victim’s family has to suffer with this loss.  It was horrible, HORRIBLE.  I do not know what the correct punishment, if any is suitable for this accident.  All I hope is that the family, who will NEVER be fully comforted sees some light in the fact that this accident happened by a man who chooses to play a role in fighting for our freedom then by someone who ran a red light or a drunk driver.  It makes me sick to read some of the comments on here- there is no blame. 
    Lastly, those who should be punished are the sick people that I saw taking photos and videos that are not using the footage for knowledge and forum but their own disgusting satisfaction.  This driver was in a convoy coming back from relief efforts, the victim lost his life in front a hundreds of people- have some fucking respect. 

  • Nipowers

    I FIRST HAND saw this accident- I was in a car that was in the opposite lane facing the oncoming NG truck when it struck this elderly man.  It was a tragic tragic accident- one that hundreds of people witnessed in one of the busiest intersections in this city, one that this driver who fights for our country has to live with for the rest of his life and this victim’s family has to suffer with this loss.  It was horrible, HORRIBLE.  I do not know what the correct punishment, if any is suitable for this accident.  All I hope is that the family, who will NEVER be fully comforted sees some light in the fact that this accident happened by a man who chooses to play a role in fighting for our freedom then by someone who ran a red light or a drunk driver.  It makes me sick to read some of the comments on here- there is no blame. 
    Lastly, those who should be punished are the sick people that I saw taking photos and videos that are not using the footage for knowledge and forum but their own disgusting satisfaction.  This driver was in a convoy coming back from relief efforts, the victim lost his life in front a hundreds of people- have some fucking respect. 

  • Its tragic accident.

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