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Pedestrian Dead After Van Drags Him 17 Miles

3:38 PM EST on February 11, 2009

This de-humanizing violence is beyond belief. From City Room:

A pedestrian was struck by a sport utility vehicle on a street in Corona, Queens, on Wednesday morning, then immediately struck again by a cargo van that dragged the victim 17 miles through a web of city highways and to Coney Island in Brooklyn, the police said. The pedestrian, apparently a male, was killed.

The victim had not yet been identified, though some paperwork was found in the clothing on his body, which was wedged under the van's chassis, the police said. The authorities said there did not appear to be any criminality involved.

No "criminality" -- in other words, we can probably rule out drugs and alcohol. Few details have surfaced about the circumstances of the initial collision, other than the SUV driver opting not to leave the scene. Here's NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on the van driver's response:

"He apparently felt something," Mr. Kelly said. "The car was not driving in a normal fashion."

Details are still emerging, but it's safe to say that at the moment of impact, the van driver was careless enough not to notice that he'd run over another human being. Shouldn't he have seen something before he "felt something"? I'm having trouble comprehending how a driver can be so disconnected from the world outside his car as to allow this to happen. Lives are at stake here. Does the NYPD not believe that drivers must stay aware of their surroundings?

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