Drivers Kill Four Pedestrians in Six Days, Two Flee Scene

Security camera footage shows yesterday's deadly hit-and-run in Bensonhurst. Image: NY1.
Security camera footage shows Sunday's deadly hit-and-run in Bensonhurst, in which a New York City firefighter is under suspicion but has yet to face charges. Image: ##http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/126868/sources--city-firefighter-not-linked-to-brooklyn-hit-and-run##NY1.##

Four pedestrians have lost their lives on New York City streets since Thursday. Two of the crashes were hit-and-runs and a third killed a four-year-old child. A cyclist is also in critical condition after a man who wasn’t licensed to operate the tractor trailer he was driving struck her on a Bushwick street Friday morning.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Manuel Tzajguachiac was crossing 65th Street at 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst, according to the Post. As he crossed the street, the driver of a BMW SUV struck and killed him. The impact sent the victim flying through the air but the driver never even stopped, the Post reported. Tzajguachiac moved to the United States six months ago from Guatemala, where his wife and son still live.

The SUV is known to belong to firefighter Pat Quagliariello, whose brother is an NYPD detective. Though Quagliariello told the police that the car was his a few hours after the crash, he isn’t saying whether he was driving the vehicle. Police released Quagliariello because they couldn’t prove he was the driver, according to the Daily News. He has been suspended pending the results of the investigation.

Later that morning, a delivery truck driver hit and killed a pedestrian on Morton Street near West Street, in the West Village. The police said that they have not identified the victim, though the Wall Street Journal reports that he was Dario Digiano, a 21-year-old from Belleville, New Jersey. The driver fled the scene and police are still trying to find him.

At around 2:00 a.m. this morning, a Duane Reade truck driver hit and and killed a pedestrian as he crossed Eighth Avenue at 56th Street.

The man, whose name is being withheld by police pending notification of his relatives, was a taxi driver going for a cup of coffee during his break, according to DNAinfo. Police say they “suspect no criminality” in the deadly crash.

On Thursday, four-year-old Evan Svirsky was hit and killed by a B49 bus driver. According to a report in the Post, Evan ran into the intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Falmouth Street. His mother tried to run after him and was also hit, suffering head trauma from the bus’s sideview mirror. She is in the hospital, in stable condition.

The Post quotes a local resident tying the crash to rampant speeding in the neighborhood: “It’s a 30mph zone but nobody does 30, it’s so scary.”

And on Friday, a 21-year-old woman was hospitalized in critical condition after the driver of a tractor trailer turned across her path on Johnson Street in Bushwick at around 9:30 a.m. Gothamist reports that the driver was charged for driving the truck without the proper license.

  • It should be a punishable crime if you hit someone and stay at the scene. If you hit and run, it’s utterly reprehensible. I can’t wait to hear what kind of explanation the firefighter comes up with. As a victim of a severe hit and run myself, if it turns out it was actually him driving the fleeing vehicle, I hope to see him fired immediately and brought up on charges.

  • New York’s Bravest? I guess not.

  • if any of this happened friday or later, the Haley & Diego Law would have been in effect. Anyone know if can be applied retroactively?
    http://gothamist.com/2010/10/12/new_law_inspired_by_chinatown_van_c.php

  • Driver

    It should be a punishable crime if you hit someone and stay at the scene.

    Paco, the driver of the B49 bus should be charged with a crime? Is there any indication the operator did anything improper? Is the driver guilty of having a child and parent run out in front of his bus?
    Are you going to suggest the bus was speeding (as the Post did) by taking one persons comment (who is apparently not a witness) about general traffic conditions in the area?
    “It’s a 30mph zone but nobody does 30, it’s so scary.” The woman’s quote does not indicate that she is referencing this particular accident, it is a general statement (and certainly an inaccurate one) that THE POST ties to the accident, not the woman.

    The firefighter was probably intoxicated and used the hit and run scenario to try to get away with being intoxicated (sober up and turn himself in). This is just a theory of course. Either way, he should be punished severely.

    Some accidents are criminal, some are unfortunately just accidents.

  • Doug

    Explain me this: why are BMW drivers and pickup truck drivers (and to a lesser extent, other SUV drivers) almost invariably the worst? When riding my bike, when there is someone honking or otherwise intimidating, I barely have to look up to tell you what type of vehicle they’re driving.

    The second question on this topic: what “balanced” response will streetsblog commenters give to chastise my previous remark?

  • I wonder how may times the police called the DA vehicular crimes unit. And when Elle’s law will start to be applied.

    On 9th Avenue another horrific crash occurred Thursday with a wheelchair hit by the driver of a van refusing to yield at a pedestrian crossing. The D. A. Vehicular crimes unit Chief indicated he would look into it. See more at http://www.chekpeds.com

    we need many more calls by citizens to the DA ‘s office ….

  • Doug, you have a valid point. Cars and trucks have been marketed as an image enhancing device for a long time ( see the now cliche of an aging beau with a ferrari to pick up the girls).BMW are aggressive and arrogant , PIck up trucks are dumb muscle…

    I’d love to see the insurance industry and the police publish statistics on the brands and models that are involved in the mosts crashes with physical injury or death ….
    For all we know neither BMW or trucks are the most dangerous .. They are just annoying.

    Then the police could safely engage in carcial profiling…

  • Ian Turner

    Christine, in NYC it seems to be private garbage haulers that have the worst safety record.

  • PAK

    That cyclist who is in critical condition is Emilie Gossiaux, a 21 year old Cooper Union art student. She’s an amazing and creative individual who is still in the trauma ward since Friday morning.

    You can see stills from a performance she did here: http://www.macheteparty.com/Emilie/performance/lambs%20performancestills/lambs17.htm

    And an art transportation story:
    http://taxicabnyc.blogspot.com/2010/04/picture-and-link.html

  • Matt

    Actually, it’s been my experience that upmarket car drivers are generally pretty careful of cyclists — probably afraid of dents or scratches to their babies. When people nearly run me over, it’s almost always 1.) People driving mass-market beaters, 2.) car service drivers in shiny black giant SUVs, 3.) car service sedans, or 4.) yellow cabs, roughly in that order. Pains me, but it’s the regular people who will mow you down as soon as look at you. The rich will kill you with high finance fancy footwork instead — they don’t like to leave footprints or tire tracks. 

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