Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

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

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."

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Car Crashes by City Workers Cost Taxpayers $180M in Payouts Last Year: Report

A record number of victims of crashes involving city employees in city-owned cars filed claims in fiscal year 2023 — and settlements with victims have jumped 23 percent, a new report shows.

April 16, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Biking with a Dutchman Edition

You really get a fresh perspective on city cycling when you do it with someone from Holland. Plus other news.

April 16, 2024

City Urges Judge to Toss Anti-Open Streets Lawsuit

The city's not responsible for 24-7 car access to every street, officials argued.

April 16, 2024

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024
See all posts