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

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.

  • KillMoto

    “Sara Kishik … was crossing midblock when she was struck by the van, catapulting her into the air.”
    Sickening.  It’s time we stop allowing the police to blame the victim without getting the vehicle black box info about speed at time of impact. 
    I realize that black box data can sometimes be hard to retrieve – readers are vehicle make specific, and cost thousands of dollars ( the NTSB could regulate/require standards ).  But if the vehicle was impounded till such time as the data retrieved, there would be incentive on the part of the killer to acquire a reader…
    Bottom line:  How can criminality be ruled out if the single most relevant fact – vehicle speed at time of impact – is ignored? 

  • john

    1)  it’s easy to blame the dead.. 
    2)  NYPD doesn’t want to do any real work.. ( Unless its physically pulling the trigger ) 
    3)  all hail the cars!! ( cops lined up to kiss the ring of Ray Kelly and inhale the car exhaust as part of their daily ritual) 

  • Guest

    The four pedestrians killed in the last six days had the misfortune of being struck by automobiles instead of subway cars. Because if they had been struck by the latter we might see some real outrage over this public health crisis.

  • Jeff

    Jimmy Vacca has promised to do something about the recent spate of transportation-related deaths:  “Standing by without a plan of action as incident after incident occurs is not an option”.

  • I need an advocate….

    Isn’t Bill De Blasio the public advocate?  Why doesn’t he start advocating for members of the public mowed down by these drivers?

  • Bottom line: When drivers know they can speed, maim, and kill with impunity, driving habits become reckless. Start revoking licenses for these offenses (even for the first offense) and things will change fast.

  • I’ve linked before on Streetsblogs’ accounts of tragic incidents like this to my blogpost about the NYPD’s warped priorities in traffic policing, but it still seems relevant: It's absurd that the police hand out disproportionate numbers of tickets to cyclists and police issues like window tinting more rigorously in many precincts than speed.

    A big part of the problem, however, is that speeding cars are, by their nature, hard to catch. It’s far easier to set up a trap and nab some cyclists running red lights. Given that bikes are easy to catch and the offense will never be reported unless an officer spots it, catching cyclists has a 100 per cent clear-up rate.

    I see vehicles doing absurd speeds all the time in New York City. Traffic-calming is badly needed – small things that make streets feel narrower for motorists, for example. But proper policing of speed is absolutely vital.

  • Nathanael

     This won’t change until the criminally negligent NYPD members are prosecuted.  And there are a lot of them, including the guy who assaulted a judge and got away with it.

    Unfortunately, there are only two ways to do that:
    – elect a DA who’s willing to break the corrupt police;
    – find a judge willing to empanel a grand jury which is willing to do so;

  • Jennifer Aniston

    I think the victim’s family should definitely file a road accident claim for getting compensation. Although the real loss cannot be recovered from such claims when you lose a person but if the victim experience injuries and not die, it is a good approach to pay off your medical bills and deal with your finance.

    Road accident claim