A 66-year-old woman struck by a driver last week in Hunts Point was at least the 29th senior killed by a New York City motorist in 2013, and the third person killed by a driver in the City Council district represented by Maria del Carmen Arroyo in five weeks.
Reports said Maria Montalvo was in a crosswalk at Hunts Point Avenue and Lafayette Avenue last Friday at around 10:40 a.m. when the driver of a Nissan pickup truck struck her while making a left turn.
Moments after the crash, Montalvo’s husband and adult daughter rushed to her side from their nearby apartment building. O’Neill, who has known the family for 35 years, declined to give their names.
“He went to his wife, looked down and lost it,” he said.
Montalvo’s daughter was equally emotional, screaming, “It’s my mother, what happened, who hit her?” according to O’Neill.
Montalvo died at Lincoln Hospital. News 12 reported that the 55-year-old male driver was issued summonses for failure to exercise due care and failure to yield to a pedestrian.
The crash happened in daylight hours, and Montalvo walked with a cane. So if this incident occurred as reported, it’s pretty clear that the victim died as a result of negligent behavior on the part of the driver. Still, it’s impossible to know exactly what factors led NYPD to issue summonses.
Careless driving was intended to be a default infraction for crashes that injure vulnerable street users. But in the hands of NYPD it is reserved for very serious injuries or fatalities, and is seemingly used in place of criminal charges. Historically, fewer than 1 percent of New York City drivers who injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists are cited for careless driving.
Reckless drivers have killed three people in Arroyo’s council district since the start of October. Witnesses said the motorist who hit 74-year-old Candida Acosta of Mott Haven on November 5 was speeding and ran a stop sign before jumping a curb and slamming into an apartment building. The driver was not charged or summonsed by NYPD. Nor was the school bus driver who ran over Genielle Laboriel on October 2, as the victim was riding a skateboard across E. 160th Street from a Melrose Avenue sidewalk.
After speaking with her staff last week, Streetsblog was expecting to hear back from Arroyo’s office regarding the death of Candida Acosta. We’ve queried her staff again concerning whether the council member is in touch with NYPD about the spate of traffic fatalities in her district, which includes the 40th, 41st, and 42nd Precincts.
At least 30 pedestrians and cyclists age 65 or older have been killed by New York City drivers in 2013. Three days after Maria Montalvo was struck, Olga Rivera was hit by a driver in East Harlem on her 65th birthday.
This fatal crash occurred in the 41st Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Philip P. Rivera, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 41st Precinct council meetings happen at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at the precinct, 1035 Longwood Avenue. Call 718-542-7964 for information.