Puran Thapa, 7, Killed by Motorist in Ridgewood; No Charges Filed

Myrtle Avenue at Madison Street. Image: Google Maps

A 7-year-old boy was struck and killed by a motorist in Ridgewood Thursday evening.

Puran Thapa was crossing Myrtle Avenue at Madison Street when, as his father looked on, he was hit by the driver of a Toyota SUV traveling east on Myrtle, according to reports. From the Post:

“I saw the child lying in the street — right on the double yellow line,” said pharmacy worker Darlyn Deleon, 22. “The father was kneeling next to the child and crying. The child looked bad.”

NYPD told the Post that Puran “darted” into the street. As is the norm when a child killed in traffic is blamed for his or her own death, no mention was made of the motorist’s speed. Within hours of the crash, police were telling the media that “No criminality is suspected.”

In the past 13 months, no fewer than nine children aged 14 and under have been killed by city motorists, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. Of the eight drivers who remained at the scene, or fled the scene but were later identified, none were charged by NYPD or city district attorneys for causing a death.

As Mayor Bloomberg continues his work to reduce worldwide road fatalities, traffic crashes remain the second leading cause of death for children in New York City, after illness. Bloomberg hasn’t lifted a finger to reform the NYPD’s shoddy approach to traffic enforcement and investigations under Ray Kelly. Rather than addressing the charge that the department’s crash investigation procedures are in violation of state law, the mayor has scolded the press for raising the question.

This fatal crash occurred in the 104th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Michael A. Cody, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 104th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month at Maspeth Town Hall, 53-37 72nd Street. Call 718-386-2431 for information.

The City Council district where Puran Thapa was killed is represented by Diana Reyna. To encourage Reyna to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 212-788-7095 or 718-963-3141.

  • Jesse Greene

    SUVs are the high capacity magazines of street safety. They create danger that’s not balanced out by any legitimate benefit.

  • Anonymous

    Notice that the reports don’t say anything about the lights. I can very easily imagine he “darted into traffic” when the pedestrian signal turned to walk.

    Why don’t reporters care about that–given how obsessed they are with making claims about cyclists’ helmet use?

  • Voter

    Look at that street. To stretch the gun analogy, allowing street designs like that to remain in place all over the city is no different than leaving loaded guns around your house. Is it any surprise when kids get killed as a result?

  • Agnesg

    This is not the driver fault. This little boy run to street the drive have green light. With what u gonna charge the driver. For driving on the street. He was running away from hes dad. People check the fact then judge.

  • agnes


  • Anonymous

    @12a622cbe3989b13ad83a2a9575f451f:disqus What “facts” are there to check? Your assertions?

  • Voter

    You can go back and forth about who is to blame. But the real fact is that our streets should be better designed so that when a kid does what kids do he doesn’t pay with his life. Beyond any single actor, this is a failure of design and enforcement.

  • I agree with Voter, I think too much of the focus in these incidents ends up being on who should be blamed/exonerated (from different sides of the debate) but we can all agree that no one should be killed because they made a simple, common mistake near someone who was out running errands. Our cities are built incorrectly, in all sorts of ways, if this is what plays out time and time again. Change may be inconvenient but it’s not more painful than burying a child.

  • Anonymous

    @brianvan:disqus and @2e1ebafe24d61a4c92a68f0fd78a3fc4:disqus:  We have to draw attention to how these stories are told in order change the stories themselves. Above-it-all wankfests serve exactly one purpose: making the wanker happy. I want actual change.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “This is not the driver fault. This little boy run to street the drive have green light.”

    What happened here was my worst nightmare as a parent, is my worst nightmare as a driver and is my worst nightmare as a parent of two young drivers whose lives would be scarred if they were to run over a child.

    So I drive as if I’m afraid this might happen, making sure that I’d be able to stop most of the time.  (I can always stop on my bike at the speeds I ride.)

    When I had driver’s ed years ago, you sat in the equivalent of an arcade ride that was the equivalent of being a driver, and everyone looked a screen that showed movies of driving situations you might have to react to.  A child bolting into the street came up multiple times per day — running after a dog, a ball, another child, or out of nowwhere.

  • Ryan Ng

    “As is the norm when a child killed in traffic is blamed for his or her own death, no mention was made of the motorist’s speed.”
    And exactly why is this the norm, again?

  • KillMoto

    @google-caf321173c6d0130db76062f6fbe1e35:disqus Because “privacy concerns” make it hard to get vehicle black box data from the moment of impact.  That, and the fact that a reader costs like $6k.  And, there’s no public demand that the press do their job and find/print these facts. 

    Things are so backwards, that the only time in recent memory the speed of a vehicle that hit someone was printed in the press was from a **cyclist**.

    So, back to business as usual. 

  • KillMoto

    @12a622cbe3989b13ad83a2a9575f451f:disqus Excellent – you have thoroughly investigated the facts and offer an impartial conclusion.  Bravo!  Can you please upload video, telemetry data from the vehicle black box, and signed/sworn affidavits from witnesses (including driver and the victims father)?  
    That would be great. 

    Otherwise, STFO about what happened. All you know is what the reckless press has reported and what the blasé beat cop speculated. 

  • Joe R.

    @12a622cbe3989b13ad83a2a9575f451f:disqus Even if we assume the motorist had a green light, they may still be culpable if they were speeding. In many cases, if you’re going the 30 mph speed limit or less, you may be able to stop in time to avoid a child unexpectedly darting into the street. And if you do hit them, you may have already scrubbed off enough speed to avoid killing/seriously injuring them.

    @c44dc01f8107c1b33104b538f33b734d:disqus Yeah, the only time it seems speed is mentioned is when the vehicle is a bicycle. Nevermind that 99.9% of the time bikes are going under the 30 mph speed limit. 12 mph on a bike seems to be “much too fast” according to the press while nobody bats an eyelash at motor vehicles doing 40, 50, 60 mph on streets full of vulnerable users.

  • Dipen

    Rest in peace Puran Thapa.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    People always talking about the “black box” should know that they don’t record anything unless the impact is severe enough to have possibly fired the air bags.  That is, the force of the impact must be sufficient to make the car’s computer at least consider using them. In a collision of a big car and a little kid the black box is going to be blank.

  • KillMoto

    @google-51433767cb1777ab784b4679888199c5:disqus OK, since I know very little about these things I’ll defer to you.  Black boxes don’t record kid killings. Got it. 

    Yesterday I bought a 32gb flash memory card for my camera, for like $20.  32gb could record speed, state of steering, throttle, and many other telemetry at 0.1 second intervals for like months before overwriting data.  

    That would be great actually.  We can’t change things we don’t measure.  And, as the #1 killer of Americans under age 40, this is something we should measure, study, and regulate very strictly.  But we don’t. 

    Why don’t we? 

  • Daniel Winks

    @c44dc01f8107c1b33104b538f33b734d:disqus We don’t because of many reasons. First and foremost, people are LAZY.  They don’t want to bike or walk anywhere, not even if it’s a block away.  If we designed our streets in a sane method, and did the same with our vehicles, then anything other than controlled-access freeways would have a 20mph maximum speed, with strict enough enforcement that no one would speed and road-design that strongly discourages exceeding that speed.

    This brings us to the second reason, which is fascism.  The United States isn’t a democracy or a republic, it’s a fascist kleptocracy.  The auto industry is a major player in traffic policy.  They don’t want speed limits reduced or speeding enforced because their $30,000+ products don’t seem that great when, short of long trips on a freeway, they are slower than cycling.  If 95% of auto trips would be faster and more convenient via bike or walking, cars would quit selling.  
    People can justify cars with “my time is worth money” much more than they can with “I’m paying 10 grand a year so I don’t get rained on a couple of times”.  A lot of people would opt for the much cheaper, cleaner, healthier, safer (for all road users, not just the rider) method of travelling via bike if the roadways were limited to 20mph.  The days of building roads strictly to move autos as fast as possible with no regard to safety or welfare of others needs to end.


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If anyone can put a stop to the suffering and death wrought by reckless New York City motorists, she will be a grieving mother. Time and again in 2013, parents were left to cope with incomprehensible loss at the hands of a driver abetted by a legal system that facilitates, if not condones, his negligence. […]