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Details on Fatal Midwood Crash Don’t Mesh With NYPD Victim-Blaming

Avenue O, looking east, with E. 7th Street indicated by the marker in the background. Police say Sara Mishik, 15, stepped between parked cars into the path of the driver who killed her, but NYPD also says she was crossing from north to south (left to right) when she was struck. Image: Google Maps
Avenue O, looking east, with E. 7th Street indicated by marker in the background. Police say Sara Mishik stepped between parked cars into the path of the driver who killed her, which appears inconsistent with NYPD's version of how the crash occurred. Image: Google Maps

The driver of a Ford van killed a 15-year-old girl in Midwood Tuesday. It was the second crash in which a child has died in city traffic in less than a week, and at least the fourth time a motorist has killed a pedestrian in the course of six days.

Sara Kishik was crossing Avenue O near E. 7th Street, a residential area where homes line both sides of the street, at approximately 2:50 p.m. when she was struck, according to reports. NY1 says the van was a "private ambulette." A bystander told DNAinfo that Kishik was thrown into the air upon impact.

A witness, who only gave his name as Vinny, 52, said that the girl was crossing midblock when she was struck by the van, catapulting her into the air.

“She went into the air and hit her head on the ground," he said.

If the witness account is accurate, it's a sign the driver may have been speeding. In addition, multiple reports indicate the driver was eastbound on Avenue O, and that Kishik was crossing from north to south. If that is the case, she would have been at least halfway across the street when she was hit, having already crossed the westbound lane. It is impossible to imagine an attentive driver traveling at 30 mph or less on a clear afternoon failing to see a 15-year-old crossing the street directly in front of him.

Nevertheless, NYPD immediately assigned blame to the deceased victim. The Daily News says that according to police Kishik "stepped in the road from between two parked cars." Within hours, NYPD issued its standard "No criminality suspected" statement to the press.

Kishik's death was first announced by Council Member David Greenfield, on his Twitter feed. The crash occurred in Greenfield's district, and in the 66th Precinct.

Sara Kishik was killed five days after 7-year-old Puran Thapa was fatally struck by a motorist in a head-on crash in Ridgewood. Last Friday afternoon, retired postal worker Thomas Berry, 66, died when he reportedly "fell into" the wheels of a passing garbage truck on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. Early Sunday, cab driver and student Mir Hoosain was standing in front of his double-parked taxi on E. 26th Street in Kips Bay when a driver slammed into it, killing him instantly. No charges were reported filed for any of these traffic deaths.

At least seven pedestrians and cyclists have died at the hands of New York City motorists in 2013. February will mark the one-year anniversary of the City Council hearing on traffic fatalities and NYPD crash investigations, which has so far yielded no reforms from lawmakers or Ray Kelly's NYPD.

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