Sook-Ja Kim Killed by Motorist in Mosholu Parkway Median; No Charges Filed

Sook-Ja Kim was struck from behind by a motorist who drove across a wide median on Mosholu Parkway. Photo: Norwood News

A woman was struck and killed by a driver who jumped the curb and drove across a field near the Bronx Botanical Garden last weekend.

Sook-Ja Kim, 63, was in a wide grassy median that serves as a park area on Mosholu Parkway near Bainbridge Avenue when she was hit from behind by a motorist at around 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.

NYPD told the media that the driver, a 22-year-old man whose name was not released, had a seizure and “lost control” of the Honda sedan he was driving.

“I saw the car cross the highway and driving in the wrong direction. He was going like 100 miles-per-hour, yes. The guy was sick or something was wrong with the young driver,” said witness Marcelino Hernandez to the Norwood News, which published a thorough account of the crash.

The story says that on Saturday “a large group of children” played football on the field where Kim was struck.

“I cross here all the time with my kids,” Hernandez said about the area of the parkway at Bainbridge Avenue. “It’s not safe, you’re not suppose to play there. Nobody should be there. This roadway is very dangerous.”

Having learned that there was speculation that the driver had an epileptic seizure, Hernandez said he felt new laws should be created for drivers who take medication when they shouldn’t, or drivers who don’t take medication when they should.

Kim died at St. Barnabas Hospital. No charges were filed against the driver, and no summonses were issued.

Sook-Ja Kim was at least the third NYC pedestrian killed by a curb-jumping motorist in the last month. Martha Atwater was struck outside a shop in Cobble Hill by a driver who police said had a diabetic seizure. An unidentified woman was hit on a sidewalk in Kips Bay after two drivers collided on Third Avenue. No charges were filed for either of those deaths.

Curb-jumping drivers have recently inflicted serious injuries upon seniors in Manhattan and Queens. The driver who severed the foot of the 83-year-old Queens victim was charged only with leaving the scene, while no charges were filed against the driver who slammed into Dr. Mansoor Day, 90, as he walked in front of Saks Fifth Avenue.

This fatal crash occurred in the 52nd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 52nd Precinct council meetings happen at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month at Sirvam Gardens, 323 E. 198th Street. Call 718-220-5824 for information.

The City Council district where Sook-Ja Kim was killed is represented by Oliver Koppell. To encourage Koppell to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7080.

  • Jeff

    Scary to think that next time you get on an airplane, the pilot could have a seizure and the plane could crash.

    Actually, this couldn’t happen, because we actually take safety seriously with other modes of transportation.

  • Maybe I’m wrong but I make this at least the fourth death as a result of a motorist’s curb-jumping in the last month. The most recent, on March 11, was that of Drudank Tenzin in Long Island City: http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/03/11/driver-jumps-long-island-city-curb-kills-drudak-tenzin-16-on-sidewalk/ I continued to be amazed that the New York Police Department justifies its disproportionate ticketing of cyclists partly on the grounds that they pose such a danger on sidewalks: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-ride-to-work-and-why-cars-resemble.html Dreadful incidents like this show how warped a misperception of risk that entails.

  • Eric McClure

    Glad that the NYPD is now fully trained in making instantaneous medical diagnoses.

  • Eric McClure

    Wright, you’re not wrong. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  • Joe R.

    How could police NOT file charges whenever a car hits someone on the sidewalk? After all, you can be ticketed just for being on the sidewalk if you’re riding a bike, even if you don’t hit anybody. Is there actually a section of the vehicle code which prohibits cars from sidewalks? I’m seriously asking because based on the NYPD’s actions (or rather lack of them) it would seem that cars are allowed to drive on sidewalks. If that’s the case, then 19-176 (no cycling on sidewalks) should be repealed.

  • KillMoto

    When someone kills with a handgun, they can be found “not guilty doe to mental defect” – the insanity defense. We don’t see this often because:
    1) It’s hard to prove. Yes… it requires proof, not just a claim
    2) The courts can still protect society from repeat killings by institutionalizing the killer, perhaps for longer than a prison sentence.

    What do we have here? Apparently, a killer “not guilty due to incapacity to drive”.
    In a sane society, here’s what would happen next:
    1) The state would lose a massive lawsuit for allowing this person to drive.
    2) The killer’s insurance company would lose a massive lawsuit for insuring this person to drive.
    3) The driver would lose his privilege to drive – for life.

    I wonder if we live in a sane society that will do the right thing…

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