Drivers Killed Two Seniors in Manhattan and NYPD Filed No Charges

DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed 85-year-old George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas's path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps
DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas’s path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps

Drivers fatally struck two seniors in separate crashes in Manhattan in the last few weeks. NYPD filed no charges in either case.

On August 23 at around 3:50 p.m., 85-year-old George Mamalas was crossing W. 93rd Street at West End Avenue when someone hit him with a box truck. NYPD told the West Side Rag that the driver was westbound on 93rd, which is one-way, and turning left onto West End.

Mamalas died from his injuries on September 11. His obituary says he was a Korean War veteran, dancer, and Pilates instructor.

There is no dedicated turn signal at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street. If the driver had a green light and Mamalas entered the intersection with a steady walk signal, Mamalas would have had the right of way.

NYPD did not identify the driver, which is typical when police don’t charge or ticket a motorist who kills a person.

Drivers have killed at least five people walking on West End Avenue since January 2014, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Following a string of deaths, beginning with the crash that killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock, DOT implemented a road diet along 35 blocks of West End Avenue in the fall of 2014, but installed concrete islands to slow driver turns at just four intersections. W. 93rd Street wasn’t one of them.

George Mamalas was killed in the 24th Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Helen Rosenthal.

Deputy Inspector Clint A. McPherson, commanding officer of the 19th Precinct. Motorists have killed at least six people walking in the precinct in 2016 as officers crack down on cyclists.
Deputy Inspector Clint A. McPherson, commanding officer of the 19th Precinct. Motorists have killed at least six people walking in the precinct in 2016 as officers crack down on cyclists.

A motorist in pursuit of a parking spot fatally struck Lee Strong, 83, at approximately 10:40 a.m. last Saturday, September 17.

NYPD told Gothamist the victim ”was in the crosswalk on the southwest corner” of Third Avenue and E. 71st Street when a 41-year-old man driving a Chevrolet SUV “stopped in the far left lane of Third Avenue and then backed into her.”

Strong sustained head trauma and died the next day at Cornell Hospital, Gothamist said.

Vincent Downing, 85, was killed at the same intersection last May by a driver who backed into him, pinning him against a second vehicle.

“Lee loved tennis and Barbra Streisand, Paris and Phoenix, beaches and lakes, Book Group and the National Enquirer, pizza and Jujyfruits,” reads Strong’s obituary, “but nothing could compare with her love for her family. She already is missed beyond words.”

Lee Strong is one of six people killed this year while walking in the 19th Precinct, where cops are more concerned with ticketing cyclists than stopping motorists from taking lives, and in the City Council district represented by Dan Garodnickwho has enabled the 19th Precinct’s complaint-based enforcement practices.

  • notsurprised

    From what I’ve heard, bikes are a big problem.

  • DarrylD

    Bikes rarely (like….rarer than people dying from taking selfies) kill anyone. Cars? All the time. Bikes aren’t the problem.

  • notsurprised

    “From what I understand, bikes are a big problem,” McPherson said at the precinct’s May community council meeting, according to Our Town. “I think the 19th precinct is the only command in the city that writes and confiscates more bicycles than the 17th precinct. I think the officers here… are aggressively pursuing it. And my goal is to continue that.”

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2016/06/02/do-the-19th-precinct-and-ben-kallos-know-drivers-cause-most-street-carnage/

  • DarrylD

    Sounds like they’ve got their priorities WAY out of wack if they’re worried about ticketing cyclists, who have killed no one, while letting drivers who kill pedestrians go free.

  • Vooch

    Those 80 year olds Are just so spry These days – able to dart into Motor Traffic at Olympic Sprinter Speeds. Those poor cars, Imagine how Those Cars feel after being forced to kill.

  • Miles Bader

    From what I’ve heard, bikes are a big problem.

    Cars are a big problem.

    Nothing else comes even remotely close.

  • walks bikes drives

    No no no. A cyclists killed a person in the 19th precinct back in… way back in… I think it was… well, I forget, but it was sometime…

    Seriously, though, I am not against all bicycle enforcement. I strongly believe that we need to address bad cyclist behavior, both as cyclists and as cycling advocates. That will get the community on our side. But I think that the priorities of enforcement should be on dangerous behavior. In other words, instead of focusing on whether th focus should be on cars or cyclists, we should all push for the focus to be based on the violations- a big push on speeding, recklace operation, failure to yield, etc. If an officer sees any road user doing such, they pull them over. If they see both a car and a cyclist failing to yield, then obviously they should pursue the car over the cyclist. If we, as advocates, went with this frame of mind, we would get more community support. Now I realize this is hard because the cops don’t handle it right. But if the big advocacy groups pushed these, maybe we could see some top down pushes from NYPD to do it right, which could help the buy in from the rank and file. I, for one, am a cyclist who gets really irked when I see another cyclist cut too close to a pedestian, or salmoning, or riding on the sidewalk in Manhattan.

  • Vooch

    Judge Judy today SUV versus Cyclist case

  • notsurprised

    Ok, officially /s

    This was a Pct 19 burn

  • mattkime

    plz plz plz let this turn up on youtube….

  • Miles Bader

    Ah, the old “cyclist was using secret alien teleportation technology!” defense… ><

  • neroden

    I’m glad we are now naming and shaming the accessories-after-the-fact to these manslaughters. Garodnick and McPherson, conspirators in killing.

  • Vooch

    Judge Judy must read Brad – she really shut the driver down using good Streetsblog logic

  • Bernard Finucane

    It’s unlikely that the red arrows is the correct route, because it turns too sharply at the end for a car moving fast enough to kill someone.

    Anyway I would suggest curb extensions like these to prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b66a24b319a0410d6646d21205da388f4d02680a87f3b583680b9eb2acd65c9c.png

  • HamTech87

    As cyclists, we’re losing hearts & minds of people who are our natural allies.

  • walks bikes drives

    Exactly.

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