NYC Motorists Killed Four People Walking and Biking This Weekend

Po Chu Ng was killed on Sixth Avenue by a driver in an SUV with TLC plates as she crossed the street with the right of way. The driver was not charged. Image: Google Maps
Po Chu Ng was killed on Sixth Avenue by a driver in an SUV with TLC plates as she crossed the street with the right of way. The driver was not charged. Image: Google Maps

New York City motorists killed four people walking and biking this weekend. One of the victims was struck in a Midtown crosswalk while crossing with the right of way, but NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance haven’t filed charges against the driver.

Po Chu Ng was crossing Sixth Avenue at W. 30th Street at approximately 5:15 Saturday afternoon when a driver struck her with a GMC SUV while turning left onto the avenue, the Daily News and Gothamist reported.

Ng, 52, was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital. The driver was a 27-year-old man. WABC reporter CeFaan Kim tweeted a photo showing that the SUV had Taxi and Limousine Commission plates. A Daily News photo shows the SUV sitting in the crosswalk with a pool of blood on the street in front of it.

An NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog Ng was crossing Sixth Avenue on the north side of the intersection, west to east, in the crosswalk with the pedestrian signal “in her favor.” But as of this afternoon, the driver, whose name was not released, did not face charges under the Right of Way Law. The spokesperson said the crash is still being investigated.

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, in 2014 NYC adopted the Right of Way Law, which penalizes motorists for harming pedestrians and cyclists who are following traffic rules, and Cooper’s Law, which gives the TLC a mechanism to revoke the TLC licenses of cab drivers who kill people who are walking and biking with the right of way. NYPD enforcement of the Right of Way Law remains inconsistent, and the TLC does not use Cooper’s Law, in part because police and district attorneys rarely file charges after a serious crash.

Three of this weekend’s fatal crashes were hit-and-runs, prompting Transportation Alternatives to call on state lawmakers to act this week to toughen penalties against drivers who flee crash scenes.

Giovanni Nin
Giovanni Nin

At around 12:40 a.m. Saturday, 26-year-old Giovanni Nin was riding his bike on East Tremont Avenue near Mayflower Avenue in the Bronx when he was hit with what police believe was a BMW SUV.

Nin was en route to his girlfriend’s house, where he planned to rest between his shifts at FedEx, according to Gothamist and the Daily News.

“He was an employee but I treated him like a son,” Nin’s supervisor Jeffrey Rodriguez told the News. “He would do anything for anybody. He’s the hardest worker I’d ever known.”

The motorist who killed Nin did not stop to render or summon aid. NYPD released video of the suspect’s vehicle, a silver BMW X5 with damage to the windshield, hood, and the right side of the front bumper.

On Saturday evening at about 7:52 p.m., a man drove Ford pickup truck into an unidentified woman who was likely riding her bike on the Hudson River Greenway.

Police told Gothamist Samuel Silva and the victim were traveling south on West Street when Silva hit the woman while turning right onto Chambers, then fled the scene. While NYPD did not say the victim was riding on the greenway, a likely scenario based on the description of the crash is that the driver cut across her path and failed to yield as she proceeded south on the greenway with a green light.

WABC reported that Silva was tracked down a short distance away by an off-duty MTA officer. He was charged with manslaughter, drunk driving, and felony leaving the scene, according to court records.

The victim had not been identified as of late this morning, and her age was unknown, NYPD told Streetsblog. [Update: The cyclist killed in the greenway crash was identified as Olga Evgleska Cook, age 30.]

At around 1:19 a.m. Sunday, a hit-and-run driver struck and killed 62-year-old Sharon Smith at East Gun Hill Road and White Plains Road in the Bronx.

“The driver ran into her and drove off,” a witness told the Daily News.

Smith died from severe body trauma at Montefiore Hospital. Gothamist reports that police posted video of a driver in a dark-colored SUV speeding away from the scene.

For years, Albany lawmakers have failed to pass legislation that would increase criminal penalties for leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Transportation Alternatives urged legislators to pass bills that would attach class D and class C felonies to hit-and-run crashes resulting in serious injury and death, respectively, before the current session ends Thursday.

Said a statement from TA Executive Director Paul White:

Under current law, drivers who may have consumed alcohol and are then involved in a collision have a strong incentive to flee, since the penalty for a DWI is currently more severe than the penalty for leaving the scene — an act that delays medical attention for victims and undermines investigations.

  • com63

    Is there a way to tell what company the TLC drivers drive for based on the license plates?

  • Thanks to the TWU for totally neutering the ROW law. Let’s not forget that.

  • Vooch

    certain the National Motorists Association is all over these latest atrocities

  • Simon Phearson

    Don’t worry – the TA and Streetsblog are on top of this! They’re spending precious political capital and readers’ attention pushing to expand our speed camera program around schools, and then spinning their failures as successes!

  • AnoNYC

    If the state refuses to do anything, then maybe pedestrians and cyclists should begin arming themselves. Many, if not most of these are surprises, but perhaps we should all start groucho walking across intersections.

    Not long ago a driver was shot in Brooklyn after almost running over two pedestrians. Surprised this doesn’t happen with increased frequency.

  • Brad Aaron

    Spoken like a true dilettante.

  • Joe R.

    It’s probably inevitable that we’ll see vigilantism if the state refuses to crack down on vehicular violence. Such has been the pattern throughout history when states ignore crimes.

    Besides the driving errors which lead to deaths or injuries, there are a minority of motorists who intentionally assault pedestrians, and especially cyclists. This could include deliberate dooring, throwing stuff out the window, even attempting to run people over. These things could easily lead to people arming themselves for protection.

  • mattkime

    yes, the tlc has this ability. you can make complaints based on plate numbers

  • Simon Phearson

    A dilettante who could, but won’t, be sending you money.

  • JudenChino

    Someone was killed on the Hudson River Greenway, at around 7pm, on a nice weekend evening. Let that sink in. Where’s the City on this shit. This is like someone being killed in Central Park. This should happen never. I get it that there was an awful killing in Orlando this weekend, but our mayor should still focus on important issues at home, like this.

  • com63

    I was wondering more for media and reporting purposes. I think if these things were reported as Lyft or Uber drivers, those companies would probably do more to encourage safe driving to avoid bad press.

  • djx

    “It’s probably inevitable that we’ll see vigilantism if the state refuses to crack down on vehicular violence.”

    This violence has existed for decades, and is probably declining. Why would the public respond with vigilantism now?

  • Joe R.

    The public seems pretty passive right now if you ask me, mostly because far too many see vehicular violence as something inevitable. When more start to see it as preventable, they may start to take matters into their own hands if the state doesn’t first.

    The fact the overall levels of traffic violence are declining means little without context. More people died two decades ago from vehicular violence but other types of violent crime were way out of control back then. NYC had over 2000 homicides annually in the early 1990s. Now that most types of violent crime are way down, the public’s attention will eventually focus on vehicular violence.

  • BBnet3000

    Hardly the first time either. If people can’t cycle safely on the Hudson River Greenway, what hope do we have on the PBLs that they’re detouring to the Greenway to avoid?

  • ahwr

    Why central park? Why isn’t it like someone being killed on the adjacent sidewalk/crosswalk, or any other sidewalk/marked and signalized crosswalk in the city?

  • Alex Gonzalez

    Perhaps pedestrians and bicyclists should arm themselves so they can shoot the DAM motorists tires so they won’t hit and drive away!!!

  • Alicia

    Yes, let’s let all the money be donated on the side of people who don’t want any speed cameras put in.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    Change the law and compel drivers to come to a complete stop before any turn. This should be in use everywhere but in a city it would immediately save lives.

  • JamesR

    You must be thinking of some other city where traffic laws actually mean something, and are actually enforced.

  • Would be more effective to focus on street design as vision Zero calls for . the greenway should have speed tables at every intersections and a yellow blinking arrow for drivers. the intersections should have split phases. DOT bears a major responsibility in its refusal to correct the design flaws. I am surprised there has not been a class action suit for willfull negligence against DOT

  • Peter LeFleure

    “For years, Albany lawmakers have failed to pass legislation that would
    increase criminal penalties for leaving the scene of a fatal crash…”

    Well, there’s the problem. Can blame all the mayors all we want, but it’s upstate that has been, and always has been the problem.

  • robynearias

    My business partners were looking for a form last month and saw an online platform that hosts 6 million forms . If you want it too , here’s https://goo.gl/Lf02JP.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG