Woman Struck by Truck Driver on Flatbush at Atlantic “Likely to Die”

Photos: Ian Dutton
Photos: Ian Dutton

Update: The victim in this crash was identified as Winnifred Matthias, 77. She died from her injuries.

A truck driver seriously injured a pedestrian at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues this afternoon, near the location where a truck driver killed a senior last year. NYPD says the victim is not likely to survive.

The crash occurred around 12:36 p.m. and the victim was declared “likely to die,” according to NYPD and FDNY. DNAinfo reports that the victim was “an elderly woman”:

The woman was walking southbound down the double yellow lines on Flatbush Avenue when she was struck at the busy intersection of Atlantic Avenue near the Barclays Center just after 12:20 p.m., fire officials said.

The victim was rushed to Brooklyn Hospital in cardiac arrest. Authorities said her condition is dire.

Crosswalks at this intersection are extremely long and indirect. Sheer self-preservation might lead someone to walk outside the crosswalk in order to cross the street faster.

Photos of the scene taken by Streetsblog reader Ian Dutton show a dump truck sitting on Flatbush in front of Atlantic Terminal, a few feet past the crosswalk on the north side of the Atlantic intersection. The truck was cordoned by police tape and NYPD investigators were on the scene.

In April 2013, a semi truck driver fatally struck 83-year-old Irvin Gitlitz on Flatbush at Fourth Avenue, a few yards from the site of today’s crash.

This crash occurred in the 78th Precinct. We’ll post more information as it becomes available.

  • M to the I

    It will be interesting to see what the reaction to this death will be by the 78th precinct and if they will step up enforcement of traffic laws. I cross this intersection frequently and car and trucks frequently block the crosswalk. Pedestrians have to play leapfrog between all the vehicles where there is enough space to walk through. Why aren’t people being given tickets for blocking the box here?! You shouldn’t proceed until there is room to clear the intersection including the crosswalk where pedestrians should have priority.

  • Mat50

    and Bicycling magazine recommended that tourists bicycle the entire length of Flatbush Avenue? i do it, but it’s not for the faint of heart. And not for the unlucky, no matter what the laws, pavement markings, or traffic agents.

  • Joe R.

    It’s similar to Union Turnpike, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Utopia Parkway, Jamaica Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, or Northern Boulevard, just to name a few examples I’m familiar with. Agreed, not for the faint of heart, although not as bad as some other streets like Cross Bay Boulevard. That one is practically a highway in spots, especially the part leading up to the Belt Parkway Greenway.

  • Andres Dee

    Tragic. This is an awful intersection with poor visibility. Motorists often jump the lights and make illegal turns. Jitney vans pick up and drop off in questionable spots. Often, people in uniform direct traffic in opposition to the lights, but with no notice or consideration for people crossing on foot.

    It is foolhardy to walk up or down the yellow lines on Flatbush (or Atlantic), but it’s also easy to confuse a person in the crosswalk with one “walking the yellow lines”. How do we know for a fact which is the truth?

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    Sadly, bad road/intersection design killed this woman. It is an awful intersection because the roads are too wide and the crosswalks head at a diagonal rather than perpendicular to the road to be crossed. It makes the crossing distance significantly longer.

  • Brad Aaron

    Worth noting that Irvin Gitlitz was said to have walked between parked cars into the path of the truck driver who killed him. So if NYPD and FDNY are to be believed, it’s not drivers or street design, but daredevil seniors.

  • Reader

    Yeah, and it most definitely is never the fault of traffic enforcement agents who direct drivers through intersections even when pedestrians have the walk sign. Just those damn seniors, throwing themselves in front of trucks festooned with flame decals and pictures of bucking broncos.

  • Alex

    That’s why these incidents always need to be investigated, even when it seems cut and dry as this might to some. A lot of people cross straight over rather than following the terrible angled crosswalk at that location. If a traffic officer was waving vehicles through while this poor woman was crossing, it’s easy to see how her trying to get across would easily have turned into her “walking the center line”. But who knows for sure? I’m hoping for a full investigation to try to figure it out, but I won’t hold my breath.

  • Andrew

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Ms. Matthias was actually “walking southbound down the double yellow lines.” Has the NYPD bothered to ask why the driver crossed the double yellow line, or are they not even curious?

  • Andres Dee

    For God’s sake, please take down these pictures. The truck driver, his family and co-worker might feel traumatized.

  • Joe R.

    Nope, why would they be curious? It’ll probably go something like this: Just another pedestrian casualty. She should have been waving a flashlight while she was crossing. Nobody to blame but her. Move along now, nothing to see here. No criminality suspected. Just life in the big city.

    Pedestrians are NYC’s version of roadkill given how police treat these cases.

  • BBnet3000

    They might not have crossed the line. Its a wide truck and a narrow lane, and a persons body is wider than the double yellow lines. Also, walking roughly down the double yellow line does not mean your feet are landing on the actual line with every footfall.

  • BBnet3000

    Bicycle Magazine made it pretty clear with their city ranking that they either have no clue what its like to bike in New York or have such a roadie sensibility that they have no idea what “comfortable cycling” means.

  • BBnet3000

    There are many intersections where the crosswalk and often the whole intersection is blocked every single rush hour and it seems to go totally unenforced by the NYPD. On Jay Street at Tillary during the afternoon peak, people on foot and on bike are often creeping through the same tiny gap between cars.

  • Damian

    The area is getting crowded… and better traffic controls are very much needed. My heart goes out to the victims family.

  • walks bikes drives

    In don’t understand the crosswalk design in many parts of the city. In front of Time Warner, for example, the crosswalks to cross Broadway , while having the ability to be short and straight, are instead angled, adding a least 25% on to the crosswalks’ lengths. It especially problematic for those in wheelchairs and parents pushing baby strollers because the curb cuts follow the crosswalks. Why not make all crossings straight, 90 degree angles which will keep them as short as possible, thereby keeping pedestrians in the street for the shortest period of time possible?

  • Joe R.

    Obvious answer is that doing so will decrease the amount of on street parking. Sad to say, private vehicle storage takes precedence over safety in this city.

    Really, to keep good lines of sight no parking should be allowed within 75 feet of an intersection. Once that rule is in effect, 90 degree crosswalks can be made without reducing parking.

    Frankly, if I had my way curbside parking would be banned altogether in the entire city in favor of loading zones, bus lanes, or bike lanes. Besides being a major eyesore, curbside parking causes myriad problems. It interferes with lines of sight, it results in people cruising for spots adding to traffic. People stopping and backing into spots, or pulling out of spots, interferes with smooth traffic flow. It’s just an all around horrible concept which never should have been allowed.

  • dporpentine

    I think Jay Street and Tillary is the paradigmatic New York City street scene, with every facet of the awfulness of the city’s street culture on display at all times. This was particularly true in the era when DOT posted “Dear bikers and pedestrians: Stop getting yourself killed” signs.

  • walks bikes drives

    But that’s the thing. Parking doesn’t apply in my example. There are no parking spots in the immediate area.

  • datbeezy

    I think that’s an overly zealous interpretation; designed to fit into your narrative about why this occurred without any critical analysis rather than based on the facts at the scene. You’re basically engaging in the exact same type of thinking as the police you are impugning.

  • Andrew

    That’s certainly a possible explanation. Perhaps an investigation could determine what actually happened.

    From past experience, though, I suspect that, now that the police have “established” (do we know how?) that the pedestrian did something wrong, this spells the end of the investigation. As if it doesn’t matter whether the truck driver might have been doing something wronger.

  • Floody

    Munoz drives like animal in Jersey

  • Joe R.

    It’s satire. I have no idea why this occurred but I do feel it merits a thorough investigation. As Andrew mentioned, it might be worth asking if the driver crossed the double yellow line, and also was Ms. Matthias on the double yellow line because she decided to walk down the center of a busy street (highly unlikely), or just happened to be there at the moment she was hit because she was crossing outside the diagonal crosswalk in order to get across the street faster.

  • Andrew

    Or perhaps she wasn’t a fast walker and found herself only halfway across the street by the time the light changed. Given the circumstances, perhaps she thought that the yellow line – which no driver has any business crossing except to enter or exit a driveway – was the safest place to stand.

    I doubt we’ll ever find out.

  • Rabi

    DNAinfo doesn’t source the claim that she was walking on the double yellow. Multiple witness statement? Police statement? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the police released an erroneous victim-blaming account of a collision.

  • CookieGugglemanFleck

    Ugh. This is sad. But another example of pedestrians thinking they’re impervious. Walking outside the crosswalk is against the law. And walking down the middle of Flatbush is downright stupid as several witnesses say she was. Prayers of both families.

  • CookieGugglemanFleck

    The driver had the light, he broke no laws and the victim was struck as a result of breaking the law. It’s sad but avoidable with more cautious walking.

  • Brad Aaron

    It sounds as if you have a legal background and witnessed this crash firsthand. Or maybe you have a copy of the crash report, which NYPD told me was still in the works.

    If so please email me: brad@streetsblog.org.

  • sara

    for the record, i just saw a truck from the same company speed through a red light at a busy midtown intersection despite there being a crowd of pedestrians on either side of the street…