Brooklyn Victim Is Third NYC Pedestrian Killed by Truck Driver in Five Weeks

The truck involved in today's fatal Brooklyn crash has New York plates, but does not have required crossover mirrors. Photo: Ian Dutton

Update: NYPD has identified the victim as 83-year-old Irvin Gitlitz.

Another NYC pedestrian has been killed by a truck driver, this time at the intersection of Flatbush and Fourth Avenues. The crash happened this afternoon.

The victim, a male in his 40s, was struck at around 12:50 p.m., and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to NYPD and a DNAinfo story. An NYPD spokesperson said the preliminary report “looks like [the victim] was walking between two parked vehicles.”

Streetsblog was alerted to the crash by reader Ian Dutton, who took photos of the scene. It appears as if the victim is in the street on Flatbush, slightly east of Fourth, and the trucker came to a stop in the intersection, with the truck’s trailer in the crosswalk.

One picture seems to indicate that, though the cab has New York plates, the truck is not equipped with crossover mirrors, which are designed to allow drivers of trucks like this one to see what is directly in front of them. Trucks registered outside New York are exempt from the mirror requirement, but trucks registered in New York State and operated within the city are mandated by law to have them. Trucks exceeding 55 feet in length, as this one appears to be, are not allowed on surface streets without a permit.

NYPD had no information regarding summonses, and the spokesperson said the investigation is ongoing.

The victim of today’s crash is at least the third pedestrian killed by a semi truck driver in the last five weeks, following the March death of Lillian Cruz, in Red Hook, and the February killing of 6-year-old Amar Diarrassouba in East Harlem.

Tractor-trailer drivers have killed at least three other pedestrians on city streets since last August, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. The victims include Ignacio CubanoKen Baker, and Jessica Dworkin.

This fatal crash occurred on the border of the 78th, 84th, and 88th Precincts, and on the border of City Council districts represented by Steve Levin and Letitia James.

We’ll post more details as we get them.

Update: A witness told the Post the victim was dragged, and that the truck driver kept going until he was flagged down.

“The front of the truck hit him and he went under the truck. And the truck dragged him a good 15 feet,” said Joe Marino. “I got out of the truck to tell him he ran over someone and he said he didn’t even know. If I hadn’t stopped him he would have kept going.”

The Post reports that the truck is registered to Nika Trucking in Ellenville, New York.

The victim was dead at the scene. Photo: Ian Dutton
  • J

    Many European cities ban massive trucks like these from areas with people living in them for this very reason. Perhaps it’s time we did them same. Surely a smaller truck is far less dangerous in a dense urban environment like Brooklyn.

  • Anonymous

    We did have laws like that, trucks that size weren’t allowed during most hours and still aren’t allowed on most streets. Not only is it much safer to break down into smaller trucks, but it creates jobs (more drivers and the breakdown crew). We do need stronger laws, but the NYPD’s total lack of enforcement is really the problem. If they cared the least about pedestrian manslaughter we wouldn’t be in this situation. The “4th largest army in the worlds” sure sucks at it’s job in cases like basic street security.

  • Yesterday I was crossing 8th Ave at 57th when a large flatbed semi (much like this one) aggressively turned off of 8th onto 57th, then immediately had to stop due to traffic backed up on 57th, so he was blocking the entire crosswalk while the walk signal was still on. He started to inch forward when an obnoxious kid, probably about 11 or 12 with no parent present, decided to taunt him, dancing around the rear wheels of the trailer and EVEN HOPPING UP ON the flatbed at one point. The driver wisely just sat there until this foolish kid got bored and went on his way. Both were doing stupid things, but ultimately the truck driver still has a greater responsibility given its sheer mass and power. His dangerous turn and blocking of the intersection demonstrates it’s not just pedestrians being foolish that causes these accidents.

  • Anonymous

    78th Precinct Commanding Officer Ameri said at the last community council meeting that because there were no recent fatalities in the precinct, enforcing moving violations just wasn’t his priority. He also didn’t seem that interested in enforcing truck route/size violations. Well, now another innocent person has died for absolutely no reason. When will the NYPD see that enforcement is an essential lifesaving preventative measure? It shouldn’t just be done in response to tragedies like this. It should be an all-the-time, #1 priority.

  • If no one had been murdered in the 78th, would Ameri have the same attitude about guns? “No enforcement, fellas! At least not until after someone has been shot.”

  • Suppose people randomly walked up to trucks at intersections with aluminum baseball bats, and whacked truck’s windshields, smashing them.

    After enough incidents, word would get out and truckers would slow at intersections, looking for the walking vigilantes that seek to claim their window.

    They would slow, and look at people.


  • Ben Kintisch

    I love reading Streetsblog and commenting. I hate reading about tragedies on such a regular basis.

    With so many cops working that intersection, I’d be curious to ask the Precinct Commander which is the priority – moving traffic quickly or protecting people crossing?

  • basiceconlogic

    “but it creates jobs (more drivers and the breakdown crew)”

    Terrible argument.

  • Anonymous

    Not sure about that corner, but I have many, many, many times seen traffic cops wave turning vehicles into pedestrians crossing with the signals at Tillary and Flatbush. Naturally, the drivers get mad at the pedestrians. After all, the cops essentially ordered them to drive over the little people.

  • If NYPD wants to focus on low-risk, fish-in-a-barrel summonsing rather than summonsing speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians (which admittedly is a little more inefficient, difficult and/or dangerous for NYPD), how about a checkpoint at the no-toll river crossings into Manhattan for summonsing all the NY-registered trucks that lack required crossover mirrors or over-length permits?

  • Alan

    Congratulations, you took Econ 101 and can draw two intersecting lines.

    Establishing safety requirements, leading to a moderately higher cost of transportation, offset by a lower chance of death and injury, with a (politically useful) side effect of more labor demand is a perfectly reasonable economic analysis, and perfectly reasonable argument for a policy.

  • Driver

    Moderately higher cost is an unfair statement. You are talking about at least doubling the cost of labor and vehicle capital expense and operating costs.

  • Jonathan Rabinowitz

    Driver is correct. Not to mention the cost and hassle of land for those transshipment warehouses. If Bronxites don’t want a Fresh Direct warehouse, why would they want any of these other warehouses?

  • Anonymous

    The argument is that smaller trucks are safer. Trucks designed to move good cross country on highways are (not surprisingly) poorly designed for crowded city streets. The reason they were allowed was because businesses cry that it’s too expensive to break crates down for smaller trucks in NYC. I’m not into corporate welfare trumping civilian safety, so I don’t buy that argument. But for those that don’t care about civilian safety, I’ll also add that the reinstatement of safety measures brings back jobs that are needed in or struggling economy. More jobs & safer streets is the America I want to live in. And I’m someone who loves America.

  • bklynbad

    I live in that vicinity and bike daily. There is ZERO enforcement in the area. Plenty of crossing guards and traffic “cops” with no authority to report speeding cars and trucks. The other day I observed a huge truck careening down third Avenue. The truck sped right through two (2) red lights on Dean and Pacific Streets, right past a crossing guard. On another note, I have reported to DOT that cars and trucks make speeding sharp right turns on third and Atlantic due to re-routing towards the Manhattan Bridge. Their answer: tell your community board and advocate with your precinct, we’re just the engineers.