Canarsie Pedestrian Luis Ruiz, 81, Killed Near Site of Fatal 2010 Crash

An 81-year-old man was fatally struck by two drivers on Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie on Friday, less than a block from where a teenager was killed by a motorist in 2010.

Luis Ruiz was the second pedestrian to die on Rockaway Parkway at Avenue J in the past 19 months. Photo: DNAinfo

According to reports, Luis Ruiz was crossing the street at Avenue J at around 8:57 p.m. when he was hit by the driver of a Mitsubishi Montero SUV. As he lay on the pavement, he was run over by a second motorist in a dark-colored sedan, who did not stop. Ruiz died at the scene.

Ruiz, who walked with a cane, was a widower and former merchant marine who had three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, family members told the Post and DNAinfo.

Police and witnesses said Ruiz was crossing against the light. No published reports that we could find made note of driver speed, but NBC reported that the Mitsubishi driver “slammed on [the] brakes” before striking Ruiz. Police are reportedly looking for the driver who fled the scene. The driver of the Mitsubishi was not charged.

In November 2010, 13-year-old student Sarah Parris was struck and killed by a motorist on Rockaway Parkway in front of Canarsie High School, on the same block where Ruiz was hit. The driver who killed Parris rammed a parked car after striking her, causing enough damage to both vehicles to indicate excessive speed. No charges were filed.

Though NYPD and the media are quick to declare victims responsible for their own deaths, in reality most crashes that kill city pedestrians and cyclists occur as a result of drivers breaking traffic laws. Fault rarely has any bearing on whether motorists are held responsible for causing death and injury in New York City. This is often true even when the driver kills and leaves the scene.

This fatal crash occurred in the 69th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 69th Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the precinct or at St. Alban’s Church, 9408 Farragut Rd. Call the precinct at 718-257-6205 for information.

The City Council district where Luis Ruiz and Sarah Parris were killed is represented by Lew Fidler, whose most notable action concerning street safety as of late was a calculated show of bike lane skepticism. To encourage Fidler to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7286 or

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone keep track of the demographics (even the presumed demographics) of these killings? They seem involve minorities to a degree that’s way out of line with their presence in the population. 

  • Joe R.

    @dporpentine:disqus By my accounting minorities and the elderly seem overly represented in these gruesome statistics. And what a tragedy for a person to live well into old age only to die in such a sudden, undignified, and pointless manner.

  • J. Wakeley Purple

    Speed is almost always the direct cause of death. It’s simple physics – multiply the velocity times the mass and apply that to a pedestrian’s body. If a car is moving at 5mph it’s quite unlikely to cause much injury, but the likelihood increases exponentially with speed. As a society we have decided it’s ok for a car to kill people occasionally in order to maintain a deadly rate of speed. There is a logical disconnect between “I didn’t mean to kill the pedestrian”, and “I chose to drive 40mph in an area where there are pedestrian crossings.”

  • A writer on Huffington Post is linking to this article to support his own fool notion the bike-sharing will cause carnage:

    Lest we forget, the Boston Globe made the same dire predictions, but the carnage never materialized, go figure.

    Still wondering why these writers don’t fall all over themselves to predict carnage whenever a new car-share scheme comes to town.


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