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No Place Safe For Pedestrians Amid Rash of Sidewalk Crashes

11:47 AM EDT on June 23, 2008

First responders on the scene of this morning's deadly crash in Chinatown.

A string of curb-jumping, vehicle-on-pedestrian violence has left one person dead and 24 injured since Friday, according to published reports. Streetsblog has a request into NYPD's public information office and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne to determine if the recent spate of crashes will spur the city to adopt stricter enforcement of traffic laws and sterner prosecution of offenders.

In one crash, an un-licensed driver steered his SUV onto a Midtown sidewalk, hitting 10 pedestrians. The perpetrator, Estabannie Sanchez, was led away in handcuffs. The local CBS News crew spoke to people at the scene:  

"We basically heard a noise behind us and turned around and the jeepwas already on the pavement, on the sidewalk, all wheels," said witnessIan Cairns.

"There was a lady under the front, a guy on the side, two underneath the back wheel," another witness said.

Alsopinned under the vehicle was a little boy, helped by people like ElieteAlvarez, who hurt his neck when the vehicle sent him into a truck.

CBS also reported on two other sidewalk crashes in Manhattan this weekend. In Harlem, a livery cab driver struck a 55-year-old woman and crashed into a bank. And on the Upper East Side, an elderly man mistook the gas for the brake, then drove into seven pedestrians. The only citation mentioned in the report was given to the livery driver, for talking on his cell phone.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn Saturday a 16-year-old driver plowed into a Flatbush sidewalk, leaving a 2-year-old in critical condition and seriously injuring three others. The driver was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

The fifth and most recent curb jump occurred this morning, when a Fung Wah bus, reportedly rear-ended by a dump truck, crashed into a bank, killing one and injuring four.

The coverage on CBS has generally taken the perspective of pedestrians, but in one report the correspondent tries to make sense of the violence with analysis that places more blame on the sun for shining than on drivers for their dangerous actions.

One theory is that because of the warm weather, more people are on the sidewalks, as people drive recklessly.

Photo: Gothamist

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