NYPD: No Charges for Turning Driver Who Killed Peggy Diaz in Rossville

A motorist killed 52-year-old Peggy Diaz at Correll Avenue and Gervil Street in Staten Island. The red arrow indicates the approximate path of the driver and the white arrow shows the approximate path of the victim, according to NYPD. Image: Google Maps
A motorist killed 52-year-old Peggy Diaz at Correll Avenue and Gervil Street in Staten Island. The red arrow indicates the approximate path of the driver and the white arrow shows the approximate path of the victim, according to NYPD. Image: Google Maps

NYPD filed no charges and issued no tickets after a driver killed a woman walking to the bus in Rossville.

The crash happened at around 4:08 p.m. Monday. Peggy Diaz, 52, had just finished a shift as a home health aide and was on her way home when a 21-year-old man hit her with a pickup truck while making a left turn from Correll Avenue onto Gervil Street.

Peggy Diaz. Photo via Staten Island Advance
Peggy Diaz. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Photos published by the Staten Island Advance show the truck — a 2011 Ford F-250 Supercab, its chassis elevated by an off-road suspension system and oversized wheels and tires — about one car-length from the crosswalk on Gervil, on the south side of the intersection.

Police said the driver, whose identity was shielded, hit Diaz with the right front bumper. “I think she got hit in the face with the truck,” Michael Ruppert, the victim’s husband, told the Advance.

Diaz died at Staten Island University Hospital at around 8:37 p.m. Monday, minutes before her family could get there, the Advance reported. By 8 a.m. yesterday NYPD had told the Advance “no criminality” was suspected. Later in the morning police put the blame on the deceased victim:

She was walking from west to east on Gervil at Correll in the vicinity of the south crosswalk, but she was not necessarily within the lines when the accident occurred, the police spokeswoman said.

NYPD routinely releases speculative information that casts blame on people killed by drivers. The severity of a collision is often determined by the motorist’s speed, yet NYPD practically never mentions it to the press. Also unknown is whether driver distraction contributed to his presumed failure to see Diaz.

In addition, since Gervil is a dead end street with no signal at Correll Avenue, under city traffic rules it appears that Diaz’s position relative to the crosswalk is irrelevant to whether or not she had the right of way.

“In New York City, crossings outside the crosswalk are permitted if the block on which the ‘mid-block’ crossing is made is not bounded by signalized intersections,” attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents NYC traffic crash victims, told Streetsblog. “On Google Maps, the intersection appears wide open with no obstructions. The driver should have seen a pedestrian ‘in the vicinity’ of the crosswalk. Perhaps more significantly, Correll is far too wide for a residential street without traffic controls, and this raises the concern that speeding was a factor in the crash.”

This crash is similar to the one that killed 15-year-old Jenna Daniels, who in 2014 was struck by the driver of a jacked-up Ford truck making a left turn from Hylan Boulevard onto Bayview Avenue in Prince’s Bay. NYPD initially said Daniels was not in the crosswalk — though mid-block crossings are legal on Bayview — but later ticketed the motorist for careless driving.

Peggy Diaz was killed in the 123rd Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Joe Borelli, who opposes speed cameras and thinks Staten Island pedestrians should have fewer protections from turning motorists.

  • com63

    Also, when a car/truck hits someone with enough force to kill them, it likely also pushes their body some distance. NYPD makes decisions based on where the victim ended up and speculates about where they might have been during the collision. I would bet she was in the cross walk. The driver should be criminally punished, but instead NYPD is engaged in a cover up for reckless drivers.

  • Bobbi Koval

    I am disgusted with the victim blaming. It is not acceptable to ever blame someone who cannot tell their side of the story. I am very sad for this womans family to have to see this report. The ADA who reviewed my sons case told me ” every body flys at a different speed. Some people survive it some people don’t”. I recall she went on to describe my sons flight but I was in such shock I stopped processing her ridiculous words as she explained how it must have been Jacks fault……callous people who are not able to make any difference in this world because they are politicians protecting their jobs.

  • Rex Rocket

    This is just insane. No person should be struck by a car, bus, or truck in a crosswalk or even in the middle of the street. Your main job as a driver is to not hurt people: You don’t drive into pedestrians. You don’t drive into other cars and bicycles. How quickly you can get to your destination is way down on the list of things you should be thinking about while driving.

  • Walter Crunch

    Open season on people! WoooT!

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