The crashes that killed two pedestrians since Wednesday morning follow a string of incidents last week that resulted in the deaths of five vulnerable street users. In all, seven pedestrians and one cyclist are known to have died in New York City traffic since February 7. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, meanwhile, couldn't be troubled to attend the City Council hearing last week examining NYPD traffic enforcement and crash investigations.
On Wednesday at around 8:15 a.m., 22-year-old Meilan Jin was hit by the driver of a city bus making a right turn at Northern Boulevard and Union Street in Flushing. The driver kept going. According to Transportation Alternatives' Crashstat, 101 pedestrians and cyclists were injured and one pedestrian was killed at Northern and Union between 1995 and 2009.
At 1:15 this morning, Willie Gonzalez, 25, was walking south on St. Nicholas Avenue at 125th Street in Manhattan when he was hit by a westbound city bus driver. The Times reports that no charges were filed in either case.
Also this month:
- February 14: Jean Jeanniot, 71, was hit by two drivers on Flatbush Avenue near East 26th Street while on the way to meet his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. One driver fled the scene. No charges were reported against the second driver.
- February 13: An unnamed 67-year-old woman was hit at Fulton and Crescent streets in Cypress Hills. "No criminality was suspected."
- February 12: Luis Rosado, 75, was killed by a hit-and-run driver at Broadway and West 138th Street, one block from his home.
- February 12: Cyclist Ronald Tillman, 29, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Howard Avenue in the Grymes Hill area of Staten Island.
- February 11: Dawn Affoumani, 42, was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she crossed the intersection of White Plains Road and Story Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
- February 7: Lizardo Aldana, 89, was struck in the crosswalk at 21st Avenue near 31st Street in Astoria. The driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWI.
Sadly, with approximately 160 pedestrian and cyclists deaths per year, a spate of fatalities like this is not unusual. They can be expected to continue as long as Ray Kelly's NYPD and city district attorneys keep letting drivers off the hook for deadly crashes that don't involve alcohol (it's pretty clear that leaving the scene does not actually qualify as a slam-dunk offense).
Even though traffic crashes have killed more than 3,700 people in NYC over the last decade, NYPD told the City Council last week that the department doesn't have the resources to beef up traffic enforcement and crash investigations. But apparently police do have the resources to conduct a wide-ranging surveillance operation of Muslim communities in Newark, and they also have the resources to more than double the number of stop-and-frisks since 2004.
With police and prosecutors refusing to do their jobs as the traffic death toll mounts, action by the council can come none too soon.