Pedestrian Killed By Truck Near Brooklyn Bridge


Dolly Shirzad was crossing Adams Street in downtown Brooklyn yesterday when a truck driver "tried to catch" a yellow light and struck her. Shirzad, 59 or 69 according to stories filed by the Daily News and NY1, was declared dead at the scene.

Witness accounts as reported by the Daily News:

Dolly Shirzad had stepped off the median on the wide street when she was struck by a Manhattan Food Exchange truck at about noon, witnesses said.

"The light turned yellow and instead of yielding, he tried to catch the light," said witness C.J. Jones, 26, of Bedford-Stuyvesant. "Everybody tries to catch the light. But that’s the wrong area to do that."

The driver was exiting the Brooklyn Bridge when he struck Shirzad, according to Streetsblog reader Dan McKinley, who was present at the scene. As of this morning, NYPD’s press office was not certain whether criminality had been determined.

Photo: Dan McKinley

  • Mark Walker

    Proximity of bridges, tunnels, and highway ramps can be deadly. I go out of my way to cross West 96th at Broadway (or farther east) because the corner at West End Avenue is so dangerous. The traffic signals are more favorable to pedestrians at West End, but when drivers are getting on or off the highway — a ped-free zone for them — they’re less likely to notice pedestrians. They’re also more impatient and resentful of the presence of people on foot, and it shows in their behavior. It makes me feel like a hunted animal. We desperately need traffic calming in these dangerous places.

  • Pat

    the DOT should deploy a red light camera at that location. there is a red light runner at that location on virtually every cycle.

  • Josh

    I don’t want to excuse the truck driver, who was (according to witness accounts) driving aggressively, but:

    Drivers are crazy on that stretch of Adams leading to and away from the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s downright stupid to start crossing a high-traffic street before you have your walk signal (which was probably the case if the truck’s signal was at or just after yellow) without looking for oncoming traffic. Any eight-year-old can tell you that you should LOOK before crossing. Use some common sense, people.

  • 96th and West End is a very dangerous spot, especially since there is a school right there. The drivers seeking to turn south onto West End will charge into the crosswalk if they see the least opening. DoT should put in bulb-outs and a leading pedestrian interval as it has done Broadway.

    Here’s a thought: Although authorization from Albany is required to mount a red-light camera for automated traffic enforcement, why doesn’t DoT just go ahead and mount cameras at these dangerous intersections with signs telling people to use due care and yield to pedestrians? NYPD is putting surveillance cams up all over Manhattan and other boroughs. DoT also maintains its own network of traffic cams up so motorists can check real-time traffic conditions at selected spots prone to congestion. Why not put up a few cams for the benefit and safety of pedestrians, the majority transportation mode? While I doubt the cameras alone would convince many motorists to be more cautious, the recordings could be used in subsequent civil litigtion and by DoT to study the problems and design solutions for dangerous intersections.

    I care about civil liberties and am concerned about all the government and private surveillance cameras, but we are already at the point of blanket coverage in most of Manhattan south of 96th Street. A few more for this purpose wouldn’t hurt.

  • ddartley

    It doesn’t really apply to that particular area, but this is why I TAKE A LANE when I ride.

    I take it upon myself to calm the savages. Since motorists may never learn that rushing to save a couple of seconds does little good and puts human lives at risk, when I’m on my bike, I use my physical presence to calm the @#$%ers down.

    The other day some jackass parent let two tiny girls who looked about three years old shoot out from behind a parked car to run across Lexington Avenue. Yes, they had the light. But what if this fucker driver had been trying to make that light?

    That experience pretty much validated for me the obnoxiously assertive way I ride. If the driver right behind me at that moment was an aggressive one like the one in the story, my presence might have saved these kids’ lives.

    Is this a little self-righteous? Yeah, it is.

  • gecko

    Each time one of these tragedies happen the Mayor, DOT and Police commissioners along with some sort of civilian review expert group should sit down and determine how to change things so that it cannot possibly happen again.

    As a life-and-death issue extreme focus on prevention — and extreme preventive interventions — will eliminate these tragedies.

    Even further, more forward thinking would be to not wait for tragedies to happen but put in place extreme preventive measures in dangerous situations in advance; regrettably (being currently ubiquitous), in all locations where pedestrians and cyclists are proximate to trucks and automobiles.

  • gecko

    In a broader sense, the Mayor, DOT and Police commissioners should stand shoulder-to-shoulder using a “bully pulpit” approach to install a great sense of caution in New York City drivers, on an ongoing basis much more importantly than for pedestrians an cyclists, ultimately the victims of minor yet deadly mistakes; at the same time soliciting advice from citizens where dangerous situations exist and act on them immediately.

    Going further, all New York City drivers, resident or not should be forced to take driver-safety courses for driving in the world’s densest urban population.

    This might seem extreme but it would save lives. It would also increase quality of life and tourist income.

  • Ace

    Cameras everywhere. Tickets go out automatically when the law is broken. Speeding, running a red light, entering an intersection where pedestrians are present. Imagine the revenue and the number of reckless drivers having their licenses revoked. To live outside the law you must be honest.

  • brooke

    This intersection is still one of the most dangerous in Brooklyn. NYPD traffic officers wave motorists through red lights without looking to see if pedestrians or cyclists are crossing.

    Asking traffic cops to be more aware of people on the street is fruitless. They shrug their shoulders and say it’s a person’s own responsibility to protect themselves. I had an cop tell me that two weeks after a man was killed on Adams and Tillary St right in front of him. This is an issue at many bridge and tunnel entrances around the city.

  • The great thing about cameras that automatically write tickets is that it will get all the people that have badges, PBA stickers and other “connections” to answer for their behavior that would otherwise go unchecked.

    More moving violations = Higher insurance rates for the worst drivers and much more suspensions.

    And if they kill or injure someone, the police can take all of that into account.

    It’s a win-win-win for public safety. Protected groups that never get tickets will drive more safely off-duty. Bad Drivers will pay for their misbahavior. More money for livable street improvements that increase safety.

  • I live a block from that intersection. It’s so dangerous! You have to run to make it all the way across Adams or else you get stuck at the median. Traffic police routinely wave cars through the red light while pedestrians have the light. A woman in my building wrote to the DOT about the short signal time for pedestrians and the DOT wrote back that there was adequate time for pedestrians to walk to the median- of course, they neglected to mention that the median is scary and tiny and most people try to avoid getting caught on it.

  • Bud

    Are we ever going to get to the point where killing a pedestrian or cyclist merits a presumption of guilty? As it should.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Plus the drivers make an illegal left from the middle lane constantly and with such impunity that they have learned they will not be ticketed. This should be a lawsuit.

  • Stephanie

    I saw the entire incident as I was walking up Adams St. towards the Court house.It was once of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life and my sympathy goes out to her family. However, she did not step off the curb, she was running against the light and she must have though she could have made it across but miscalculated. The vehicle was in the left lane and she was crossing from right lane. It was almost as if she struck the vehicle the same time the vehicle struck her. People are always crossing against the light at that intersection.

  • gecko

    Most drivers are not sociopaths or psychopaths and likely feel deeply guilty when these accidents happen like the engineers of train locomotives after the horrific crashes that can occur with vehicles crossing tracks. The solutions lie in structuring the technology and environment so that it is extremely difficult if not virtually impossible for these accidents to happen.

    This should not be as daunting as it may seem since the cause of the tragedies are most often mistakes and errors of judgment in controlling and dealing with transport machines with the solutions residing in additional automatic machine levels of control.

    A trivial solution preventing crashes of trains going in opposite directions is to have the trains on completely separate noncrossing tracks. To prevent these trains from hitting people or automotive vehicles, trivial solutions would include fences and barriers preventing cars, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians from crossing train tracks. It should be obvious that similar interventions can make urban environments extremely safe.

    The real difficulty lies in getting people to concentrate on this problem and deal with it as the extremely critical life-and-death issue that it is by focusing on the ongoing horrific heartbreaking death and destruction caused by not dealing with it head-on and employing the relatively simple solutions that can eliminate it.

  • Leila

    I saw that poor woman lying on the ground before she was fully covered. I can’t get the image out of my head. What I learned in driving school is that pedestrians have the right of way. Always. God rest her soul.

  • galvo

    Motorist are supposed to be prepared to stop and come to a stop at a yellow light. Gunning the vehicle to make the light should be ticketed as reckless driving.
    There was a local community whose police were pulling over and warning drivers for speeding up on the yellow to beat the red.
    As long as death by automobile is considered unavoidable by the boss at city hall, there will be no changes.

  • erez

    dolly is our friend,she is home now, no need for tears, dolly is safe at home where death and pain can never reach,she won .she is perfect now.

  • shay

    Dolly was my grandmother. She was a 69 years old, which some may think as old but she was a young soul. I was not as close to her as i always had wished. New York drivers MUST be more cautious of pedestrians. Its not a matter of who had the right away, although pedestrians always do. It is a matter of life and death. She was taken from us in a matter of seconds. I will never forget her character may she rest in peace. I know she is in a better beautiful place. I love you Dolly. May you always be remembered.

  • Brownstone

    “she was struck by a Manhattan Food Exchange truck”
    This is the Brooklyn Bridge. There is not supposed to be commercial traffic on that bridge. What was this truck doing there?
    Are the police going to ticket the truck for driving on the bridge?
    Oh, I forgot, this is all a tragic accident.


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