Driver Jumps Long Island City Curb, Killing Tenzin Drudak, 16, on Sidewalk

A driver jumped the curb in Long Island City today, plowing into a group of pedestrians who were waiting for a crossing signal. Tenzin Drudak, 16, died, and four others were injured. Photo: Niko J. Kallianiotis/##http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2013/03/12/nyregion/CRASH.html##NYT##

At approximately 10:30 this morning, a minivan driver that witnesses say was speeding eastbound on Thomson Avenue in Long Island City crossed oncoming traffic, jumped the curb, and struck a group of students on the sidewalk at the corner with 30th Street, near Skillman Avenue. The crash killed Tenzin Drudak, 16, and left four others injured.

Drudak was a student at Applied Communications High School on Thomson Avenue. The four injured pedestrians, all students at adjacent LaGuardia Community College, were transported to Elmhurst Hospital Center in stable condition.

The driver exited the vehicle after the crash, screaming, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” according to witnesses. WCBS reports that the driver was taken from the scene in handcuffs. Streetsblog has an inquiry in with NYPD to see if charges are being filed.

This sidewalk is often crowded with students waiting to cross Thomson Avenue after getting off the Q39 bus, and the street also sees heavy traffic from drivers on their way to and from the free Queensboro Bridge.

Today’s fatality is the latest in a series of crashes in which motorists have driven off the roadway and injured or killed pedestrians on the sidewalk. On February 12, an 89 year-old man was seriously injured when an SUV driver jumped the curb on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, smashing into Saks Fifth Avenue. On February 22, Brooklyn Heights resident Martha Atwater, 48, was killed just blocks from home when a pickup truck driver drove onto the sidewalk and crushed her. Just two days later, a pedestrian was killed at Third Avenue and East 27th Street in Manhattan after a two-car collision sent a taxi careening onto the sidewalk. On March 1, a man was seriously injured on the sidewalk at 8th Avenue and 51st Street after a driver jumped the curb.

The City Council district where Tenzin Drudak was killed is represented by Jimmy Van Bramer. To encourage Van Bramer to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7370, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov or @JimmyVanBramer.

This post has been updated with the correct name of the deceased.

  • Jeff

    Time to put NYPD’s new policy to a test!  Now that driving onto the sidewalk and taking a human life while illegally speeding will no longer be termed an “accident”, will criminality be suspected?

  • Signmaker

    Was there a LOOK! sign near this crosswalk?

  • Speeding, driving against the flow of traffic, driving on the sidewalk…do we pass the “rule of two”?

  • Anonymous

    When a motor vehicle jumps the curb there should be an automatic subpoena for black box data and cell phone records – period.

  • Reading this blog makes me feel like this happens way, way too often in New York. I can’t think of a better case for more automated traffic enforcement as well as narrower streets. Cars have way too much “wiggle room” which makes them feel safer to speed on. So sad.

  • Driver

    Sadly, there are bollards up and down this block, and this dope managed to plow right into the spot where there was no protection. 

  • Daniel Winks

    There is one and only one person at fault for anything here, and that’s the driver. Crosswalks aren’t hard to see! People crossing the street in a crosswalk aren’t hard to see! The only explanation for what occurred here was an intentionally malicious and willfully negligent motorist, likely looking down at a phone or other distraction device, only to look back up, see the crosswalk filled with pedestrians legally crossing the street and not having enough time to stop due to them driving at an intentionally excessive speed.
    A child died here, many more nearly died and all because one selfish, psychopathic motorist (or should I say, murderist) valued other human lives less than waiting a few minutes to check their text messages or driving at a reasonable speed and arriving at their destination 1 or 2 minutes later. There’s no excuse for motorists like this.  This driver deserves to spend the rest of their life in jail.

  • KeNYC2030

    In its account of the crash, the Times notes that the Collision Investigation Squad is looking into “the accident.”  Will someone please send them the memo? 

  • Melannycorrea

    R.I.P TO MY BABY ! I LOVE YOU TENZIN DRUDAK :'[[

  • Andrew

    Why the outrage? The driver said that he’s sorry. Isn’t that enough?

  • Guest

     @Andrew_J_C:disqus It is not mentioned here but other articles have written that witnesses said that they had heard the driver telling the police that this accident happened because he had lost control when he was reaching to retrieve a milk carton that he had dropped.. WHILE DRIVING. The sheer stupidity of this driver has cost a person HIS LIFE and injured 4 more. So no, a simple sorry is not enough. What is that had been you or someone else you hold dearly? Your light intake of this tragedy is not only insensitive but down right disrespectful. Do not dismiss a persons life so easily.

  • Joe R.

    @efc2f864955e667593e3b840a099ce71:disqus Can’t you tell that Andrew’s comment is meant to be sarcastic? As for the rest, I’m simply dumbfounded anyone operating a motor vehicle could be this stupid. Shouldn’t someone licensed to drive a motor vehicle have the common sense to realize you *don’t* worry about picking up objects while the car is in motion? This is an epic fail on the driver’s part. At the very least he should never be allowed to drive again.

  • Andrew

    Apologies if my sarcasm wasn’t taken as such. Scroll through my Disqus profile if you want to see how I really feel about these things.

  • Jones

    damn because that fucking diver brought pain to that kids family and friendss 

  • kdt

    What does a death-dealing driver have to do to get charged with something more than a ticketing offense in NYC? He was either or both of ticketed for driving without insurance (http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2013/11/thomsonaccident_all_2013_03_15_q.html) or driving an unlicensed vehicle (http://www.qgazette.com/news/2013-03-13/Front_Page/Teen_Dies_Four_Injured_Over_Spilled_Milk.html), even though he admitted that he was reaching for spilled milk when he killed Mr. Drudak.

    How is that not at a minimum criminally negligent homicide? In NY, a person “is guilty of criminally negligent homicide when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person.” What is “criminal negligence”? “A person acts with criminal negligence . . . when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

    Looking away from the road while driving a multi-thousand-pound vehicle while driving at speed through a congested urban area would seem to create a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” that someone would be injured or killed as a direct result of that act.

  • musaaaa

    tenzin drudakkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk i love you my babyboy wish you would be back again. your princess misses youuuu.

  • this kid

    damn ill miss you Tenzin…i always will…darling dont be afraid i have loved you for a thousand years, ill love you for a thousand more<3
    thank you for making my freshman year a memorable one<3 baby i love you no matter what<3 look down at us<3

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