Driver Backing Up to Park Kills Lin Qinyun, NYPD Blames Victim [Updated]

NYPD issued no tickets and filed no charges against the driver who backed over and killed Lin Qinyun in Corona. Image: Google Maps
NYPD issued no tickets and filed no charges against the driver who backed over and killed Lin Qinyun in Corona. Image: Google Maps

Update below

A driver backing up to get a parking space killed a woman in Queens and NYPD blamed the deceased victim.

Lin Qinyun, 64, was crossing 37th Avenue at 113th Street in Corona at around 8:45 a.m. last Friday when she was struck by a 54-year-old woman driving a Ford SUV.

NYPD faulted Qinyun for the crash. From the Times-Ledger:

The driver was eastbound on 37th Avenue and came to stop in the vicinity of 113th Street, the spokesman said.

The driver then put her vehicle in reverse and traveled westbound in reverse, the spokesman added.

Qinyun was crossing 37th Avenue at the time from north to south outside of a crosswalk into the path of the vehicle, which struck her, causing her to fall and strike her head on the pavement, the official said.

37th Avenue at 113th Street is a two-way street with one travel lane and one parking lane in each direction. There is a marked crosswalk on 113th Street, but no crosswalk markings or curb ramps on 37th Avenue.

Regardless of street conditions, state law requires motorists to exercise due care to avoid hitting people with vehicles. There is a park and a school on one side of 37th Avenue at 113th Street, and apartments on the other. The crash happened a few yards from a school zone.

“The driver didn’t see her. The car went right over her,” witness Rosealba Maneses told the Post. “She has blood on her head — it happened so fast.”

DOT has recorded five injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle occupants at the intersection since 2009, including two injury crashes last year.

Qinyun died at Elmhurst Hospital. NYPD issued no charges or summonses to the driver, whose name was not released.

Since May 2015, motorists have killed five pedestrians while driving in reverse on New York City streets, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

The crash that killed Lin Qinyun occurred in the 115th Precinct, which is known for Vision Zero cyclist crackdowns, and in the City Council district represented by Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

Update: Attorney Steve Vaccaro pointed out to me that, under state law, “[t]he driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety.” In addition, since the block in question is not bounded by signalized intersections (there is a stop sign at 37th Avenue and 112th Street), there is no prohibition against people crossing mid-block, Vaccaro said.

  • Jules1

    Holy crap, how fast was she backing up in order to kill someone in her way?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    betcha it was wife or mother of a cop

  • Brad Aaron

    I’m sure it doesn’t hurt, but you don’t have to be connected to get away with killing someone in a car in NYC.

  • neroden

    NYPD involved in criminal conspiracy to conceal evidence to protect a reckless driver from the consequences of his/her actions. Again.

    NYPD needs RICO dropped on them.

  • Bobberooni

    What I’ve learned from all this is… when in the street not in a vehicle, make sure you are always in the “magic crosswalk.” I now do that routinely on my bike when waiting for the light to change.

  • Komanoff

    “Since May 2015, motorists have killed five pedestrians while driving in
    reverse on New York City streets, according to crash data tracked by
    Streetsblog.” That’s pretty damning. Hope you can run a piece about them, enumerating the (non-)consequences to the drivers. This deserves its own category, alongside curb-jumpers.

  • Nathan Rosenquist

    And when you get hit by a car in that crosswalk anyway make sure you aren’t thrown out of it. Where your body falls is where they’ll count it.

  • Kevin Love

    Unless NYPD can say your body fell into the crosswalk. Then you’ll get victim-blamed anyway.

  • Bobberooni

    …but kill ONE pedestrian on a bike, and the whole world falls apart.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Qinyun was crossing 37th Avenue at the time from north to south outside of a crosswalk into the path of the vehicle, which struck her, causing her to fall and strike her head on the pavement, the official said.

    Fast enough to cause someone to fall and hit their head. So basically: any speed above zero.

  • i run past this corner many times per month. How this could happen is beyond me.

  • Andres Dee

    How does an onlooker know that a driver “didn’t see” the person crossing?

  • Cold Shoaler

    I frequently see drivers backing down the street to chase after a parking spot at pretty alarming speeds. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she, or at least some of the drivers in other ‘backing dangerously’ crashes were going > 20/25mph.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Wild angry honking is usual response upon seeing a isolated human in roadway. No honking ergo no see

  • WalkingNPR

    Yet another problem with our on-street parking situation in NYC.

  • Andrew

    Look at those criminals crossing the street outside the crosswalk in your Street View imagery!

    Note that there is no crosswalk across 37th Avenue here. The only way to cross 37th Avenue at this location is outside the crosswalk. That Lin Qinyun is blamed for crossing the street the only way it is possible to cross the street is reprehensible.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/trafrule.pdf#page=25

    Restrictions on backing. No person shall back a vehicle into an intersection or over a crosswalk and shall not in any event or at any place back a vehicle unless such movement can be made in safety.”

    If the NYPD issued no charges or summonses to the driver, can we surmise that the NYPD believes that the anonymous driver acted safely despite having killed Lin Qinyun?

  • Simon Phearson

    Another case of negligent road design by the DOT. On one side of this street, you have a multi-family apartment building and hotel; on the other, a park and a playground. People – likely including many children – clearly “jaywalk” across this street all the time, but the only marked crosswalks are at the ends of the block.

    Drivers first, residents second. As always.

  • Off course, this seems to be their belief in almost all crashes.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/05/26/motorists-kill-three-pedestrians-and-seriously-injure-two-kids-in-five-days/

    “At around 11:55 a.m. last Thursday a motorist backed a Mercedes SUV into 76-year-old Galina Shibayeva at the intersection of Shore Parkway and 24th Avenue in Bath Beach, according to the Daily News.

    Shibayeva was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. What appeared to be a walker lay just a few feet from her body.

    The 21-year-old driver stayed at the scene, police said. It was unclear whether she will face any charges or be ticketed.”

    A quick search did not turn up any more information about the 21 year old driver mentioned here from May 2015.

  • AMH

    Slight correction–killing someone with a car who is not in a car. Kill someone who is in a car and you’re more likely to face consequences.

  • qrt145

    I was reading the VTL the other day and was surprised at how vague the restrictions on backing are. It all depends on how “unless such movement can be made in safety” is interpreted. I’ve lived in places that spelled out much more specific restrictions, such as having a speed limit for backing (5 mph?), a maximum backing distance (50 ft?), and prohibiting backing across intersections or crosswalks.

  • JoshNY

    I feel like it’s reasonable for the onlooker to give the driver the benefit of the doubt that if she had see the pedestrian, she would not have hit her. Not that failure to see the pedestrian should be an excuse, of course.

  • neroden

    If a car hits someone at 1 mph, it generally won’t cause them to fall and hit their head. This car was not going at “parking speed”.

  • neroden

    NYPD’s concealment of the killers’ identities — making NYPD accessories after the fact to the crime — means that it’s worthwhile for the media to publish license plates and track down the owners of the cars driven by the killer motorists.

  • Joe R.

    I see this an awful lot. A few times I was nearly killed riding my bike by some jackass who just stopped suddenly in front of me and threw it into reverse. I thought it was illegal to drive in reverse, other than if you’re backing into a spot.

  • This happened right in front of me this morning on Troutman Street just east of Cypress Avenue as I was riding to work. A typically lawless driver was backing up at speed eastward as I was riding westward, the result being that we were closing on each other at an alarming rate. I was going at about 12 miles per hour; and I would guess that he was moving a little faster than that, perhaps about 15.

    I got out of the way and gave him the “what’s up?” sign with my arms. The turd waved his hand at me as though I were annoying him.

    It is just another case of the everyday driver misbehaviour that has been normalised in our culture, a phenomenon which is fuelled by the lack of enforcement. We know that our City’s police are not interested in illegal acts by drivers, preferring to act as a deadly occupation force in black neighbourhoods. But, even if the police did care to take a look at these illegal acts which actually affect the well-being and the quality of life of ordinary people (as opposed to arming themselves to obscene levels in order to battle against mostly imaginary “terrorists”), the police cannot be everywhere; therefore the chance of any individual driver being caught for any individual dick move would still be far too low to serve as a deterrent. So I doubt that we’ll ever see much of a change in this type behaviour on the part of drivers, who tend to be equal parts incompetent and sociopathic.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Correct, but people also generally don’t die from falling over and hitting their head, but sometimes it happens. I actually had a friend that was sitting on his motorcycle, not moving, without a helmet, and as he was dismounting, his leg caught and he fell and hit his head on the ground. He got permanent, serious brain damage and is no longer independent.

    A fall even from standing can have serious consequences.

    Having said that, if someone pushes you and catches you off balance; how fast do you think their hands are going; 3mph maybe? definitely parking speed. That doesn’t mean this driver was doing that, but it doesn’t mean they were going fast either.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    another argument for market clearing pricing of street parking; less hysteria from drivers about finding a space

  • Jonathan R

    Quite a few folks actually do die from falling over and hitting their head; if you check the NYC vital statistics you will see that deaths from falls outpace deaths from motor vehicle crashes.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Huh, no kidding:
    “The three leading causes of accidental deaths continue to be unintentional drug overdose, followed by falls, and motor vehicle accidents”

    Never would have figured. that’s really terrible.

  • com63

    I always thought situations like this T intersection counted as a crosswalk, even though it is not marked. Is this not true?

  • Andrew

    Update: Attorney Steve Vaccaro pointed out to me that, under state law, “[t]he driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety.” In addition, since the block in question is not bounded by signalized intersections (there is a stop sign at 37th Avenue and 112th Street), there is no prohibition against people crossing mid-block, Vaccaro said.

    However, there is, perversely, a prohibition on people crossing at the intersection, since it is illegal to cross a street except in a crosswalk, and the law defining an unmarked crosswalk was changed in 2009 (in the name of parking) to exclude T-intersections.

    That’s right, folks. Based on current New York City traffic law, it is not legal to cross at this intersection but it is legal to cross mid-block. Go figure.

    http://urbanresidue.blogspot.com/2014/06/legally-blocking-crosswalk.html

  • Andrew

    It was true until 2009, when the law was changed to permit parking at curb cuts at T-intersections. Specifically, the definition of an unmarked crosswalk was changed to exclude T-intersections, as here. As a result, not only are motorists no longer required to yield to pedestrians at these locations (unlike at unmarked crosswalks elsewhere that look exactly the same), but it is technically illegal for pedestrians to even cross at them.

    Thank you, Vincent Gentile.

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/11/32_11_bm_ridge_parking.html http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/06/06/how-a-dot-parking-rule-change-made-nyc-streets-less-safe/#comment-1426354371

  • ahwr

    I don’t understand, is it illegal to cross there? Or is it like crossing midblock where you have to yield to vehicles with the right of way?

  • Bernard Finucane

    The picture shows a cr doing what a car should not be allowed to do, turning fast around the corner by using the extensions of the parking lane into the intersection as a turning lane. The area where the black car is in the picture should be on curb and protected by bollards. The curb behind the family on foot should also be extended, and the crosswalk should be clearly marked.

    http://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/ce/pixmac/size/800/path/verkehr/fussgaenger/fgue/resources/Ch-Wi/Badensche-Str.-14.jpg

    Anything else is criminal negligence.

  • Bernard Finucane

    At crosswalks that are not at a corner and there is a parking lane, the sidewalk should be extended into the parking lanes to shorten the distance the pedestrian has to cross and to keel the crossing free of illegally parked cars.
    https://www.ilmenau.de/files/sicherer_schulweg_zebrastreifen_ziolkowskistrasse.jpg

  • Andrew

    The former. Crossing at an intersection may only be done in crosswalks, and the crosswalks that used to be here were defined away in 2009.

    Crazy, no?

  • qrt145

    How many of those fatal falls are actually cases of “falling over”? I suspect a large fraction are actually cases of “falling down” (the stairs, from a ladder, from a roof…)

  • Jonathan R

    It’s my understanding that falls in general can be quite debilitating to older people, and that the fall leads to a worsening of condition and eventually death. Reason why every nursing home and hospital has fall-prevention protocols.

    I doubt that spry Streetsblog commenters like yourself have much to fear from falling over, however. Your bone density is probably normal and a fracture would likely heal quickly with no long-term effects.

    As far as ladders or roofs, I suspect that they are not as lethal as motor vehicles.

  • qrt145

    You are probably right. And of course an older person dying from falling over in their home or nursing home will never make the news, unless the person was famous to begin with.

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