No Charges Filed as Five Pedestrians Killed in City Traffic in Six Days

In the last six days, five pedestrians have been killed by motorists and a sixth victim was reported “likely to die” in crashes in four boroughs.

Police at the scene of the crash that killed Brooklyn senior Nicoletta Gargano, one of at least five pedestrians killed in the city since December 13. No charges have been filed for any of the crashes. Photo: Brooklyn Daily

At 3:15 this morning, a 31-year-old man was struck by a driver at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 246th Street in the Rosedale section of Queens. The killer fled the scene. Police are looking for a beige Honda or Acura with damage to the front end, according to the Daily News.

Three seniors were killed in crashes that appear to have been caused by a motorist who failed to yield the right of way. Tuesday morning, a school bus driver making a turn hit a 78-year-old man at Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway in Sheepshead Bay. Witnesses told NY1 the victim was struck by a side mirror. DNAinfo reported that he was thrown some 20 feet by the impact, and said that according to NYPD, “No criminality was suspected.”

Nicoletta Gargano, 76, was on her way to church Sunday evening when she was hit by a motorist on Avenue M near East 57th Street. She died at Brookdale University Hospital. From Brooklyn Daily:

Upon investigation, detectives concluded that the motorist’s 1990 Ford was zipping down E. 57th Street when it made a right turn onto Avenue M, striking the victim as she stepped into traffic.

The motorist wasn’t facing any criminal charges by late Sunday night, police said.

Last Thursday afternoon, 69-year-old Ignacio Cubano, out to buy his grandson a birthday cake, was killed by the driver of a semi truck at E. 138th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx. The Daily News reported that Cubano “died in the middle of the crosswalk.” From DNAinfo: “Police were still investigating Thursday night but said no criminality was suspected.”

Two people were struck on the Upper West Side on Friday. Luis Enriquez, 62, was unloading a soda truck on Columbus Avenue between W. 73rd and W. 74th Streets when he was hit by the driver of a moving van. He was declared dead on arrival at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, according to the Daily News. No charges were expected. Ninety minutes earlier, an unidentified woman was struck by an SUV driver on Central Park West near W. 102nd Street. Gothamist reported that the victim was believed likely to die and that “NYPD says ‘no criminality is suspected.'”

Maybe the most startling news concerning this string of tragedies is that it’s not news. Fatalities may be at record lows, but a city pedestrian or cyclist is killed approximately every 36 hours. If all those crashes were reported thoroughly — if the dailies were hammering all the drivers who kill people crossing with the light, and the law enforcement agencies who let them off easy — perhaps a critical mass of people in power would decide that enough is enough. Perhaps laws would be changed, killers would be prosecuted, and the scourge of gruesome and preventable loss of life would fade into memory.

As it stands, while the papers are busy clocking cyclists in Central Park and printing uninformed rants against street safety projects, and the City Council fails to take a first step by moving on the relatively tepid Crash Investigation Reform Act, New Yorkers continue to die, and their killers remain free to keep driving.

  • Anonymous

    How can someone get run over in the middle of a cross-walk and there be no criminality suspected?

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Let’s look at this using a different analogy.

    Let’s say I’m practicing my baseball swing.  I’m out on the sidewalk walking to the park and I’m swinging my baseball bat as I head to my baseball game.  There is no criminal intent but I’m not paying close attention and as I’m swinging the bat I accidentally crack an unsuspecting person in the head and kill them.  Am I then not guilty of a crime?’

    Even if these drivers were not intending to hit someone and, let’s assume, they were not breaking any other laws, the fact that they hit and killed someone with their cars must make them guilty of at least a minor criminal infraction.  If they were speeding or guilty of another traffic infraction, then these crashes deserve close inspection by the DA.

  • @2995d81157fecd50fe4b728419a38787:disqus  That’s a good analogy, but windshield perspective is stronger than any analogy.

    Basically, they can’t really criminalize dangerous driving because almost everyone is a dangerous driver.

    So if 95% of the country decides it’s vital to American Society to practice swinging baseball bats on the sidewalk, we’d get Post articles blaming Careless Pedestrians for getting in the way of Our Noble Swings.

  • Joe R.

    So long as we continue to call them “accidents”, we’ll continue to find excuses to exonerate those who kill with motor vehicles, whether they do so by reckless or simply incompetent operation.

  • Tuknoe

    No criminality, because, it must thus be a war zone. We are more likely to criminalize a foreign regime, and throw money to the military in the name of that for our security. Somehow, this is OK, not a threat. Dead is dead. Assault with a deadly weapon is an American entitlement.

  • Nathanael

    I think there’s clearly some criminality going on, not just among the reckless drivers, but more importantly, at the NYPD.

    They don’t have the legal right to just let people off the hook for crimes.  Yet that is what they are doing.  How to change this?  Only by changing the DAs.  Primary campaign for DA?

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Editors’ note: Beginning with July, we are basing our monthly fatality and injury data posts on DOT’s compilation of crash data instead of NYPD’s. DOT data gives a more complete picture of citywide injuries, though accounting of fatalities may be delayed in cases where the victim died days or weeks after the crash. Known discrepancies will be noted. Eighteen people […]