Truck Driver Kills Maria Minchala, 63, in Washington Heights Crosswalk

Though it has center islands, Broadway at W. 165th Street, where a driver killed Maria Minchala, is inhospitable to people on foot. Image: Google Maps
Though it has center islands, Broadway at W. 165th Street, where a driver killed Maria Minchala, is inhospitable to people on foot. Eight people were injured in crashes at the intersection in 2015. Image: Google Maps

A truck driver killed a woman in a Washington Heights crosswalk Wednesday night — the second pedestrian fatally struck by New York City motorists yesterday.

Maria Minchala was crossing at Broadway east to west at W. 165th Street, near New York-Presbyterian Hospital, at around 8:45 p.m. when the driver, turning right onto Broadway, struck her with a flatbed truck, according to reports.

From the Daily News:

“She went to church to get her ashes, and then she was on her way to work,” said her distraught son, Manuel Minchala, 36, crying as he spoke. Minchala worked for a private office cleaning company.

“I took the turn real slow, three miles an hour. I never saw her. I felt a bump. It wasn’t right. I pulled over and went back and saw the lady,” said the driver, who didn’t give his name.

“She is a mother of five. She has four grandchildren. We are from Ecuador,” Manuel Minchala said. “She brought us here for a better life. She was a good, hard-working woman.”

The driver’s name was not released by police. Though it appears likely the victim would have been crossing with the right of way, no charges were filed and no tickets were issued as of this afternoon, NYPD told Streetsblog.

Much of Broadway in Upper Manhattan is a chaotic and dangerous mess, with motorists slaloming around double-parked cars. Though Broadway has center islands at W. 165th Street, with five lanes of motor vehicle through-traffic and no bike infrastructure it’s a foreboding crossing to navigate on foot.

There were eight injuries at the intersection in 2015, according to DOT crash data. The 33rd Precinct, where the crash occurred, ticketed 707 drivers for speeding [PDF] last year.

If Minchala had the right of way, there’s definitely no guarantee the driver will be charged with a misdemeanor under the city’s Right of Way Law. While motorists have killed and injured thousands of people since it took effect, police and prosecutors have applied the law in just a few dozen cases.

Minchala was struck less than 24 hours after a hit-and-run driver killed a 16-year-old girl in Rosedale, Queens.

  • WalkingNPR

    This intersection and 168th/Broadway are both totally unacceptable, considering the number of people coming to the NYP/Columbia hospital/clinics on foot who may be moving slowly or have mobility limitations for any number of reasons. It’s in desperate need of a road diet.

    Or do mobility-limited people count the same as short people?

  • BBnet3000

    Though it has center islands, Broadway at W. 165th Street, where a driver killed Maria Minchala, is inhospitable to people on foot.

    Then why are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars to replicate it on 4th and Atlantic Aves in Brooklyn?

  • Anon resident

    Elected officials offices is this area have ignored this issue for years. Robert Jackson, Denny Farrell don’t get it that there is a lot of foot traffic between residents, ppl going to the local hospital to visit patience, and ppl who work for the hospital. What’s even worse is NY Presbyterian staff who are housed in 3 attached brownstones on 170 complain about the bike lane.

  • Jonathan R

    Robert Jackson hasn’t represented the area in more than two years. No wonder your pleas in his direction go unanswered. Denny Farrell is in Albany.

    Rodriguez represents the north side of 165th St; Levine the south. Both are dogged advocates for people on foot.

  • Jonathan R

    You can safely assume the hospital cares more about the people who drive there (outpatients, staff, contractors, et al) than the people who walk there. Several years ago the issue of these two intersections came up at a CB12 trans committee meeting, and it was made clear that the hospital was firmly on the side of the status quo. Even so, the bike racks on the SW corner of 168 & FWA are always crowded.

    Also don’t forget that the intersection of 165 and FWA is even more dangerous to people on foot that the two on Broadway.

  • neroden

    NYPD is an accessory after the fact to the crime.

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