Suying Du Killed by Staten Island Motorist; NYPD: No Criminality Suspected

The woman who was killed by a motorist in Staten Island on Saturday has been identified by NYPD as Suying Du, 56.

Police told the Advance that Du was crossing Victory Boulevard at Christopher Lane against the light when she was struck in the right-hand westbound lane by the driver of a Subaru Outback. The driver of a minivan, in the left-hand westbound lane of Victory Boulevard, had stopped to let Du cross, according to witnesses.

A passenger in another vehicle told the Advance that Du was thrown some 15 feet into the air upon impact. The Advance reported that the windshield of the Subaru was cracked after the crash.

The posted speed limit on Victory Boulevard in the vicinity of Christopher Lane is 30 mph.

“She just came out of nowhere. I didn’t even see her,” said the driver, as quoted by the Advance.

Du was declared dead on arrival at Richmond University Medical Center, according to DNAinfo.

The crash occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. A police source indicated to the Daily News that the driver may not have seen Du because she was wearing dark clothing.

The status of the NYPD investigation has not changed since Sunday, when police issued the standard “No criminality suspected, investigation ongoing” statement.

This fatal crash occurred in the 122nd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Joseph B. Veneziano, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 122nd Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the precinct, 2320 Hylan Boulevard. Call 718-667-2292 for more information.

The City Council district where Suying Du was killed is represented by Minority Leader James Oddo, an enemy of bike lanes who has supported neighborhood slow zones while also stating that “drivable roads” for Staten Island motorists are his primary concern. To encourage Oddo to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7159, joddo@council.nyc.gov or @HeyNowJO.

  • Anon

    The question to ask the NYPD is “What constitutes ‘criminality’ when a pedestrian is injured or killed by a car?”

    Is it DUI, or does anything else qualify?  Everything else is just negligence and stupidity it seems.

  • Adam Anon

    Well, she did cross against the light. Dark clothed pedestrians are indeed nearly impossible to see after dark, and jaywalking is rampant. People should really stick to crosswalks and wait for the light. Driving after dark is difficult in NYC with everyone walking around like holy cows. People don’t realize that they are indeed invisible after dark.

    Now, if the driver was speeding it might have changed the situation somehow. But if this woman crossed with the light she might have been still alive.

  • Andrew

    @45bab32ae8c58e3a92b70eebb7548492:disqus According to the police. But the police presumably got their version of the facts from the driver. They certainly didn’t get it from the pedestrian, since she was dead. And it’s unlikely that they actually carried out an independent investigation. Maybe they accurately described what happened; maybe not. We will probably never know.

    If the victim was thrown 15 feet into the air and cracked the windshield, then it might be worth considering whether the driving was possibly speeding.

    Drivers in cities need to be on the constant lookout for pedestrians, regardless of how they are dressed. Expecting anybody who will be out after sunset (that’s 4:37 today) to only wear bright clothing is absurd. This took place adjacent to a college campus, where pedestrian activity is especially likely. A van had stopped in the other lane; shouldn’t that be a clue to other drivers that something might be going on? “I didn’t even see her” should be taken as an admission of guilt; if you can’t see pedestrians at night, you should immediately stop driving and turn in your license.

    You say that jaywalking is rampant. I say that blatant disregard for the laws of driving is far more rampant – and far more destructive.

  • An SI resident

    @Andrew_J_C:disqus Pedestrian activity in this area is extremely rare – not that it makes the situation any different, but let’s not recast what this area is. 

  • Joe R.

    The van driver who stopped actually did her a disservice since she had absolutely no way to ascertain if the next lane was clear with the van blocking the view. Because it was midblock, motorists aren’t necessarily going to expect that a stopped vehicle might be letting someone cross, especially in an area like this which sees little pedestrian traffic. Even if the motorist who struck her had been traveling at the speed limit, it’s dubious whether or not he could have stopped in time. I nearly had a similar incident occur while I was riding two years ago. In my case, there weren’t any stopped vehicles in the travel lane, but rather a woman starts crossing midblock right out from behind a parked truck which blocked any chance I had of seeing her (and presumably any chance she had of seeing me). Moreover, there was a car right in front of me, and yet for some unfathomable reason the woman decided to start crossing right after the car passed her without seeing in anyone was behind her. In fact, she literally ran into the street right after it passed. Fortunately, she jumped forward when she saw me, and I jerked my handlebars right, missing her by maybe a few inches. I had been moving at traffic speed (about 33 mph) when this happened as I was in the traffic lane. In that particular stretch of the road I was on (Union Turnpike), this is the safest place to ride. There just isn’t enough room to ride to the right of the right lane without being squarely in the door zone. Besides that, this was a commercial area where there are likely to be lots of people exiting their cars. With the slight downgrade in that spot, keeping up with traffic was easy. I do normally move to the left lane in instances where a large vehicle might be blocking a crossing pedestrian so I can see them ahead of time. In this case however there was no room to move into the left lane. Slowing down wasn’t an option either because I had cars right behind me.

    I have to disagree with Adam Anon about crossing in crosswalks and with the light. This is one of the least safe ways to cross because you’re dealing with turning cars which more often than not don’t yield to pedestrians as the law requires. Provided you look carefully before crossing, it’s much safer crossing against the light and/or midblock. You just need to watch for traffic both ways instead of also looking for turning cars. That said, there are major visibility problems at some intersections I regularly cross because people insist on parking large vehicles near the crosswalk. That shouldn’t be allowed. I need to see what’s coming before I cross, whether or not the intersection is signalized. I refuse to put blind faith in a traffic signal because there is no physical barrier preventing drivers from passing red lights (although that might be a good idea to implement in the future). I’ve also seen my fair share of malfunctioning lights which show green both ways at the same time.

    In the final analysis, yes, motorists should take reasonably steps to avoid hitting pedestrians, especially in places where there are likely to be a lot of pedestrians. Unfortunately, sometimes there really is nothing you can do. It’s unrealistic to expect motorists to drive slow enough to avoid any errant pedestrian all the time. That would mean going 10 or 15 mph, even on expressways where a pedestrian has no business being. I’ve personally noticed a huge problem with pedestrians in NYC is the fact that many are utterly clueless about stopping distances. They’ll dart 20 feet in front of vehicles going 30+ mph, and then act surprised when these vehicles can’t stop. Or they’ll cross with large vehicles blocking their view, on the assumption that any vehicles they can’t see which happen to pass by will be able to stop. We don’t really know exactly what happened  here, but I’ve seen enough similar instances to know that people not looking before crossing is a huge problem, especially when they cross in places where pedestrians just aren’t expected by motorists (or cyclists for that matter).

  • Driver

    “The van driver who stopped actually did her a disservice since she had
    absolutely no way to ascertain if the next lane was clear with the van
    blocking the view.”
    That’s not true, she could have stopped and peeked out from behind the van before walking into the next lane.  Unfortunately, some people think to do that and some do not.  As a truck driver throughout the city, I encounter this situation pretty regularly.  When stopped in a traffic lane with cars ahead of me, pedestrians will regularly cross in front of my truck and walk blindly, and completely obscured to traffic, into an open traffic lane next to me. Some people realize this and look before entering the next lane, but many people walk right into the open traffic lane without looking, and often without even realizing what they are doing.  This particularly happens if the stoppage is because of a red light. 
    People assume all traffic is stopped, but don’t realize that someone
    will still drive in an empty lane until they reach the light or the car
    in front of them.  Even if both lanes of traffic are stopped, pedestrians should still be watching for bicyclists riding between lanes.
    When in this situation, I usually watch for traffic in my mirror and honk to get the attention of the pedestrian and alert them to look at the next lane if anything is coming. 

    Adam Anon is dead wrong, pedestrians (and cyclists) are not “invisible” at night, and if you think they are, you shouldn’t be driving.  That said, it is possible for a pedestrian to be invisible because they are completely blocked by another vehicle, particularly a large vehicle. 

  • Driver

    “The van driver who stopped actually did her a disservice since she had
    absolutely no way to ascertain if the next lane was clear with the van
    blocking the view.”
    That’s not true, she could have stopped and peeked out from behind the van before walking into the next lane.  Unfortunately, some people think to do that and some do not.  As a truck driver throughout the city, I encounter this situation pretty regularly.  When stopped in a traffic lane with cars ahead of me, pedestrians will regularly cross in front of my truck and walk blindly, and completely obscured to traffic, into an open traffic lane next to me. Some people realize this and look before entering the next lane, but many people walk right into the open traffic lane without looking, and often without even realizing what they are doing.  This particularly happens if the stoppage is because of a red light. 
    People assume all traffic is stopped, but don’t realize that someone
    will still drive in an empty lane until they reach the light or the car
    in front of them.  Even if both lanes of traffic are stopped, pedestrians should still be watching for bicyclists riding between lanes.
    When in this situation, I usually watch for traffic in my mirror and honk to get the attention of the pedestrian and alert them to look at the next lane if anything is coming. 

    Adam Anon is dead wrong, pedestrians (and cyclists) are not “invisible” at night, and if you think they are, you shouldn’t be driving.  That said, it is possible for a pedestrian to be invisible because they are completely blocked by another vehicle, particularly a large vehicle. 

  • Joe R.

    @SB_Driver:disqus That’s actually my larger point-some people will look in that situation, many will not. Really, if a person decides to cross midblock or against the light, it’s entirely up to them to determine if it’s safe to do. The problem is many in this city will use the line “the pedestrian always has the right-of-way” to cross wherever and whenever they want. It’s really scary how many people cross streets without even a cursory glance. It’s even more scary how many have their heads buried in their gadgets. This is actually one of the reasons I avoid riding during the day, even here in Eastern Queens, and totally avoid congested areas altogether. Combine large numbers of double-parked cars with people crossing streets seemingly everywhere in a fog, and you have the recipe for miserable, dangerous cycling.

  • Russell’s Teapot

    Third-world immigrants are ignorant about American traffic.

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