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No Charges Filed as Five Pedestrians Killed in City Traffic in Six Days

1:34 PM EST on December 19, 2012

In the last six days, five pedestrians have been killed by motorists and a sixth victim was reported "likely to die" in crashes in four boroughs.

At 3:15 this morning, a 31-year-old man was struck by a driver at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 246th Street in the Rosedale section of Queens. The killer fled the scene. Police are looking for a beige Honda or Acura with damage to the front end, according to the Daily News.

Three seniors were killed in crashes that appear to have been caused by a motorist who failed to yield the right of way. Tuesday morning, a school bus driver making a turn hit a 78-year-old man at Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway in Sheepshead Bay. Witnesses told NY1 the victim was struck by a side mirror. DNAinfo reported that he was thrown some 20 feet by the impact, and said that according to NYPD, "No criminality was suspected."

Nicoletta Gargano, 76, was on her way to church Sunday evening when she was hit by a motorist on Avenue M near East 57th Street. She died at Brookdale University Hospital. From Brooklyn Daily:

Upon investigation, detectives concluded that the motorist’s 1990 Ford was zipping down E. 57th Street when it made a right turn onto Avenue M, striking the victim as she stepped into traffic.

The motorist wasn’t facing any criminal charges by late Sunday night, police said.

Last Thursday afternoon, 69-year-old Ignacio Cubano, out to buy his grandson a birthday cake, was killed by the driver of a semi truck at E. 138th Street and St. Ann's Avenue in the Bronx. The Daily News reported that Cubano "died in the middle of the crosswalk." From DNAinfo: "Police were still investigating Thursday night but said no criminality was suspected."

Two people were struck on the Upper West Side on Friday. Luis Enriquez, 62, was unloading a soda truck on Columbus Avenue between W. 73rd and W. 74th Streets when he was hit by the driver of a moving van. He was declared dead on arrival at St. Luke's-Roosevelt, according to the Daily News. No charges were expected. Ninety minutes earlier, an unidentified woman was struck by an SUV driver on Central Park West near W. 102nd Street. Gothamist reported that the victim was believed likely to die and that "NYPD says 'no criminality is suspected.'"

Maybe the most startling news concerning this string of tragedies is that it's not news. Fatalities may be at record lows, but a city pedestrian or cyclist is killed approximately every 36 hours. If all those crashes were reported thoroughly -- if the dailies were hammering all the drivers who kill people crossing with the light, and the law enforcement agencies who let them off easy -- perhaps a critical mass of people in power would decide that enough is enough. Perhaps laws would be changed, killers would be prosecuted, and the scourge of gruesome and preventable loss of life would fade into memory.

As it stands, while the papers are busy clocking cyclists in Central Park and printing uninformed rants against street safety projects, and the City Council fails to take a first step by moving on the relatively tepid Crash Investigation Reform Act, New Yorkers continue to die, and their killers remain free to keep driving.

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