MTA Bus Driver Runs Over 15-Year-Old Girl in Brooklyn Crosswalk [Updated]

Turning MTA bus drivers have killed at least 12 people in the last two years. Image: News 12
Turning MTA bus drivers have killed at least 12 people in the last two years. Image: News 12

Update: NYPD told Streetsblog the bus driver involved in this crash was arrested and charges are pending. Transportation Alternatives tweeted that, according to police, he was charged under the Right of Way law.

An MTA bus driver ran over a teenage girl in a Brooklyn crosswalk this morning.

The 15-year-old victim was walking north across Grand Street at around 8:45 when the Q59 driver, southbound on Union Avenue, struck her while turning left onto Grand, according to NYPD and DNAinfo.

Video from a nearby bodega’s camera shows the bus swinging around the corner just as the girl steps into the crosswalk, hitting her and then dragging her out of the frame.

“Oh my God, the lady was crossing the street. He did not see the lady. The people in the street were screaming,” said Jose Aguilar, 48, who owns nearby Grand Gourmet Deli.

“I saw the girl crossing the street. The bus came in fast,” said Aguilar’s worker, El Mehdi Ouafiq.

He said a woman stayed with the girl when she couldn’t pull her from under the tire.

A video Ouafiq shot shows the girl’s bright green shoes poking out from beneath the bus’ large wheel while a group of people huddle around her trying to help.

The Daily News reported that the victim “was pinned under the left front wheel.”

A spokesperson with the NYPD public information office said the victim suffered a severe leg injury. Reports on social media that the victim died were not true, the spokesperson said, but she had no further information. A tweet for confirmation on the victim’s condition to the Highway Department, which investigates traffic crashes, got no response.

If the crash occurred as described and the bus driver failed to yield, he could be subject to a charge under the city’s Right of Way law. Of the 18 MTA bus drivers who have killed pedestrians or cyclists in the last two years, 12 were making turns, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Last December the MTA said it planned to equip buses with external audible alarms to warn people on the street when a bus driver is turning, as well as a collision avoidance system to alert bus drivers to nearby vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.

A Streetsblog request to the MTA for information on the crash was unanswered as of this writing.

Update: Here is what we received from the MTA, in full:

At 8:457 a.m., Q59 making left turn struck female pedestrian at Grand St. and Union Av. She is in critical/stable condition with injury to left leg. BO was taken to hospital for trauma.

  • Mike

    Glad the driver will be charged, but … man, that poor girl.

  • Tyler

    I’m curious about collision statistics for the big express/commuter buses (the coach style ones). They are painted like transit vehicles, but they drive around very aggressively — driving well into the oncoming lane of traffic is normal operating procedure and their speed… well…

    I’m in Brooklyn, so I’m thinking about the BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4 and BM5 buses.

  • AnoNYC

    Couldn’t you build some sort of cage around the wheels? Would that reduce the chances of being dragged under?

    Also proximity sensors which the MTA is considering anyway.

    And bus only lanes would calm these drivers nerves. Must be aggravating, getting cut off and swerving around double or illegally parked cars all day long. No excuse, but their mindset is definitely going to be aggressive after all that. Any BRT features would help.

  • Geck
  • scastro87

    Hmm, this isn’t described as traffic violence?

  • al

    Considering the cost of each fatal incident related lawsuit, this should be a no brainer.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m waiting for the whole two-way fatality and severe injury two way matrix.

    Pedestrian
    Bicyclist
    Motor Vehicle Driver
    Motor Vehicle Passenger

    Struck by

    One person wreck (for pedestrian or bicyclist a fall)
    Pedestrian
    Bicycle
    For Transportation
    Commercial
    Exercise/Training
    Motor Vehicle
    Private Passenger Car
    Taxi or Livery
    Bus
    Van
    Panel Truck
    Tractor-Trailer

  • I feel it’s time for the bus union to join us in educating drivers, not trying to weaken needed Vision Zero enforcement.

  • com63

    Here comes the time to find out how much backbone our politicians have. Section 19-190 has been mostly unopposed, but now it will come under fire. Be ready to speak out in favor if you are behind it.

  • Tyson White

    How about smaller buses that run on a more frequent schedule?

  • Jeff Utz, M.D.

    According to story, she was leaving the curb as the bus was starting to turn. Hopefully, the driver will get a fair hearing. From the information given, it is not possible to determine who is at fault. It could be the girl or the driver. I also hope the MTA and other organizations that run buses will learn from this to improve safety.

  • com63

    How does “leaving the curb as the bus was starting to turn” matter? Are you saying that once the bus starts to turn, it now has the right of way? As long as the girl wasn’t suddenly running into the intersection, she has the right of way in the crosswalk. It sounds like there is video of the event that police watched to make the determination of charges. I agree the driver should get a fair hearing, but I think fault is already slanted heavily towards the driver. Here is the law:

    (b) Right of way in crosswalks.
    (1) Operators to yield to pedestrians in crosswalk. When traffic control signals or pedestrian control signals are not in place or not in operation, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the path of the vehicle or is approaching so closely thereto as to be in danger.
    (2) Pedestrians shall not cross in front of oncoming vehicles. Notwithstanding the provisions of (1) of this subdivision (b), no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield.
    (3) Vehicles stopped for pedestrians. Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear in the same or adjacent lanes shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

  • Andrew

    The section you cited applies “When traffic control signals or pedestrian control signals are not in place or not in operation.” It’s not the applicable section here, where the driver was facing a green signal and the pedestrian was facing a walk signal.

    Here’s what a green signal means: “Vehicular traffic facing such signals may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits any such movement. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.”

    And here’s what a walk signal means: “Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal in any crosswalk. Vehicular traffic shall yield the right of way to such pedestrians.”

    The requirement that “no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb” (etc.) does not apply in this case. It only applies at locations with no traffic/pedestrian control signals. When it comes to making a turn at a green light, motorists are required to yield to pedestrians crossing with the walk signal no matter what – even if they suddenly step off the curb. In other words, they’re required to scan the curbs as well as the crosswalk itself, looking for pedestrians who are about to step off the curb and cross the street.

    You are absolutely correct that it makes no difference whether the bus had already started to turn, but it also makes no difference how suddenly the pedestrian “appeared” in the crosswalk.

  • com63

    Thanks for the clarification. Even more clear cut then.

  • Andrew

    Agreed. Amazing how so many people insist on looking for ways to blame the victim here.

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