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S.I. Ped Killings Cause Some to Ask, What’s an “Accident?”

9:52 AM EST on December 21, 2007

Rev. Lyle Guttu, a fixture at Staten Island's Wagner College since 1972, was struck by an SUV in the West Brighton ATT00221.jpegneighborhood of Staten Island last Saturday. He died Sunday evening.

The Staten Island Advance reports:

Guttu was crossing Bement, heading east from Chase Manhattan Bank ataround 2:40 p.m. Saturday, when he was struck by a 2006 NissanPathfinder driven by 47-year-old Theresa Totorelli of West Brighton,according to a police report.

Ms.Tortorelli -- who had been heading west on Forest Avenue and just madea left onto Bement -- claimed she did not see Guttu in the road untilit was too late.

Guttu was conscious when police arrived and complained of "pain all over his body," the report said.

There were no tickets issued at the scene, though police say an investigation is ongoing. Reports say Tortorelli was not speeding and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to NY1, the medical examiner "has ruled the death an accident, caused by the impact of the crash."

As Wagner faculty, alumni, and acquaintances and friends of Guttu pay their respects, SI Advance readers are debating who, if anyone, is responsible for the popular chaplain's death.

Some want justice and safer conditions for Staten Island pedestrians:

If Rev. Guttu was just walking down Forest Avenue IN THE CROSSWALK, this then should be a vehicular homicide. Whenever a car makes a turn, the car MUST give right of way to any pedestrians in the crosswalk when the pedestrian has a green light or a walk sign!

While to others, c'est la vie: 

They call these situations accidents because thats what they are. The Reverend was loved by all who knew him but he also knew how to love. If he were here he would remind you to forgive. Rest in peace, Reverend Guttu. My families prayers are with you and the unfortunate soul who will forever grieve over this accident.

In other news, an unidentified woman was killed on Queens Boulevard Wednesday when she was hit by a cement truck. The victim, according the Daily News, "was walking north along Woodhaven Blvd. toward the Queens Center Mall about 1 p.m. when she tried to cross in front of the truck." Unfortunately, she "may have stumbled and fallen beneath the ... truck's wheels." A witness told the News the victim was trying to "beat the light." There were no such speculations regarding the actions of the driver, who reportedly wasn't sure he had hit the woman lying in the street with tire marks on her clothing, and who was not charged. His boss described her death as "an unfortunate thing, especially at this time of year."

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