Another Pedestrian Dies, Another Killer Driver Walks

cf7.jpgJoAnne Hayden-Weissman, center, was killed by a curb-jumping driver in Queens on April 16.

The words never fail to shock.

Last Thursday afternoon, 55-year-old JoAnne (Kodetsky) Hayden-Weissman was walking her dog on a path near Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel, Queens when a driver reportedly jumped the curb, striking both her and her pet. Hayden-Weissman, a popular dance instructor who founded the Western Steppers line dancing group, later died at Peninsula Hospital. Her dog was also killed, according to a commenter on the web site of the Daily News, which has the only coverage of the incident we’ve found.

Meanwhile, as residents bemoan Cross Bay Boulevard’s status as a speedway for reckless motorists:

The driver stayed at the scene and was not charged.

As we’ve learned from our interviews with Leslie Crocker Snyder and Maureen McCormick, prosecutors in New York State are often hamstrung when it comes to going after sober drivers who kill. When pedestrian deaths in the city are so commonplace that they barely merit a mention in local media, while certain prosecutors show no inclination to push for any punishment whatsoever even in the most high-profile cases of motorist negligence, it’s clearly going to take a lot more consciousness-raising over many more years for the words "the driver was not charged" to become the exception, rather than the rule.

Not that it can’t happen: As McCormick points out, until MADD came along, drunk drivers were given the same societal free pass as careless, but no less deadly, drivers enjoy today.


In Memoriam

Each year, scores of pedestrians and cyclists die on New York City streets, while thousands are injured. Though the total number of road fatalities is trending down, those who get around the city on foot and by bike have seen their casualty rate rise. Incidents of vehicle-inflicted violence are so frequent that many go unreported […]

The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (5 Killed Since Oct. 3; 160 This Year*) Chinatown: Woman in Her 70s Struck on Canal; Driver “Didn’t See” Victim; No Charges (Streetsblog) […]
File photo: Dave Colon

Driver Jumps a Curb and Hits Five Children Near Queens School

A motorist dropping his child off at school jumped a curb and injured several students in Queens this morning, according to officials and published reports. The driver of a Honda SUV drove onto the sidewalk at Grand Avenue and 71st Street in Maspeth at around 7:49 a.m., striking five people. The victims were all age 12 or […]