Irvin Gitlitz, 83, Was First of Two Pedestrian Fatalities Wednesday

The pedestrian killed by a truck driver at Flatbush and Atlantic on Wednesday has been identified as Irvin Gitlitz, 83, according to NYPD.

The truck involved in the crash that killed Irvin Gitlitz did not have required crossover mirrors. The driver was not summonsed. Photo: ##http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130403/prospect-heights/man-fatally-hit-by-truck-outside-barclays-center##DNAinfo##

Police say Gitlitz stepped between parked cars into the path of the truck driver, who was not charged or summonsed. Photos of the scene indicate that the truck was not equipped with required crossover mirrors, which enable the driver to see what’s directly in front of the cab.

Gitlitz lived a short distance away, at 334 Bergen Street, a police spokesperson said. The crash occurred in the 78th Precinct, near the location where another pedestrian, Ronald Sinvil, was killed by the driver of a city sanitation vehicle last December.

Gitlitz was at least the eleventh senior to die in city traffic in 2013, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog, and at least the third NYC pedestrian killed by a tractor-trailer driver in the last five weeks.

Another Wednesday crash claimed the life of a pedestrian in Elmhurst. Police say a man stepped between parked vehicles into the path of an MTA bus, on Broadway near 77th Street, at around 7:30 last night. The victim carried no identification, and as of this morning NYPD did not know who he was. The Q53 was carrying passengers at the time of the crash, according to reports. No summonses were issued.

Last night’s fatal crash occurred in the 110th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Daniel Dromm.

  • Eric McClure

    I wonder how Mr. Gitlitz could have “stepped between parked cars,” since the curbside in front of Atlantic Terminal is “No Standing Anytime”: http://goo.gl/maps/nel5K

  • Erik, the reference to someone stepping between parked cars is re the Elmhurst death, not Mr. Gitlitz. Re: Elmhurst, it would be possible on B’way, near the hospital to step out between parked cars. But from the photo on the NBC site, it looks like the bus is pulled into a crosswalk (maybe the one mid-street on B’way across from Elmhurst Hospital?) so calls to question the initial story.

  • Eric McClure

    Reread the beginning of the 2nd paragraph above, @twitter-230310109:disqus

  • Gary Reilly

    The initial reporting indicated a 40 year old man was killed? That’s pretty wildly divergent.

    And Eric’s right, BAB. The article above clearly states Gitlitz stepped out from between parked cars.

    I don’t know if that’s accurate, but Eric’s read certainly is.

  • Brad Aaron

    NYPD gave us the same scenario — stepped from between parked vehicles — for both crashes. For what it’s worth.

  • Safetygal

    We know that seniors are disproportionately represented in the traffic fatality department – making up almost 40 percent of the pedestrian deaths in the city, despite the fact that they make up about 13 or so percent of the population (or somewhere around there). This is why when I go to community meetings and hear younger people fight for safer streets and older people fight against them I find it so disheartening. When I was younger, I never would have fought for the safety of my elders the way that young people do today. I am always amazed and hope that we can continue to re-educate our older New Yorkers to understand that their lives hang in the balance.

  • Eric McClure

    Surely Seniors for Safety will be issuing a statement or holding a prayer vigil any moment now.

  • Russell Gitlitz

    he did step out…….my uncle…..he wouldnt have been killed if the truck had mirrors to see what was in front of it,,he was DRAGGED to death by a driver that had no idea he had hit anyone because of the lack of proper safety equipment for city driving of a truck of that size..my uncle was also a vet of the 82nd Airborne Div..a terrible way to go for an old war horse walking home

  • Ah, got it. Sorry.

  • Driver

    The relevant information that we do not know is whether the truck was moving or stopped before the pedestrian stepped in front of it. If the truck was stopped, then that is precisely the situation the crossover mirrors are designed for. If the truck was moving, even slowly, then crossover mirrors are not designed for that situation.

  • Anonymous

    I know that’s snark–and it’s good snark, more than justified–but it’s situations like that where the pretenses of that “group” are shown to be deeply grotesque, since the thing is, we *need* a group advocating for safer streets for older people. Not an offshoot of TA, but a group dedicated just to that. But instead we have that tiny clique of cynical reprobates.

  • Toby

    Russell, I’m so sorry for you and your family.

  • Joe R.

    What are your thoughts on putting cameras on trucks to cover all of the blind spots, including those at the back of the trailer? It seems to me like it would be a good idea which can be done at relatively minor cost (i.e. probably less than a few thousand per truck). Perhaps that one-time expenditure would be recouped in lower insurance premiums.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Russell, I’m sorry for your loss. Perhaps you might consider reaching out to Vaccaro and White, who specialize in litigation for accident victims. They are excellent attorneys and both very committed to working for a safer city.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Great comment, Safetygal. The goal for our city should be the “8 and 80” standard – for bike lanes and pedestrian crossings. That is, can an 8 year old or an 80 year old travel safely? I know this awful intersection and I get nervous crossing – as a healthy, speedy 32 year old. I would never want a young child or a senior citizen to have to cross there – but there are too many long, dangerous intersections like the one where Mr. Gitlitz was killed. May his memory be for a blessing.

  • Eric McClure

    Very sorry for your family’s loss.

  • Eric McClure

    @dporpentine:disqus, couldn’t agree more. AARP — or somebody — really needs to ramp up an advocacy effort. No one, least of all the aged, should have to take their lives in their hands for the simple act of crossing a street. Or worse, to just stand on a sidewalk.

  • Andrew

    You really expect the NYPD to do 30 seconds of Internet research before coming up with an excuse for the driver?

  • Eric McClure

    More like three seconds of looking up at the sign.

  • Andrew

    They bothered to visit the scene in person? I’m impressed by their diligence!

  • I don’t understand why someone with life’s experiences would step between parked vehicles (even illegally parked ones) instead of waiting for the cross walk to clear, and then walk in front of a semi when they should catch the driver’s eye before proceeding. Very risky on the Peds part and they lost their life for trying to save a couple of minutes. Only cross a street when it’s safe to do so! Please check out my latest video on YT about the responsibilities we all have on teaching children about street safety, and that perhaps it’s time to teach it in schools. Channel DontDentMyCar. And yes those illegally parked vehicle owners bear some of the responsibility here because they helped in creating a dangerous situation. It isn’t a single ‘they are at fault’ but a shared responsibility of varying degrees based on all of the facts, including the actions of the victim.

  • I don’t understand why someone with life’s experiences would step between parked vehicles (even illegally parked ones) instead of waiting for the cross walk to clear, and then walk in front of a semi when they should catch the driver’s eye before proceeding. Very risky on the Peds part and they lost their life for trying to save a couple of minutes. Only cross a street when it’s safe to do so! Please check out my latest video on YT about the responsibilities we all have on teaching children about street safety, and that perhaps it’s time to teach it in schools. Channel DontDentMyCar. And yes those illegally parked vehicle owners bear some of the responsibility here because they helped in creating a dangerous situation. It isn’t a single ‘they are at fault’ but a shared responsibility of varying degrees based on all of the facts, including the actions of the victim.

  • I don’t understand why someone with life’s experiences would step between parked vehicles (even illegally parked ones) instead of waiting for the cross walk to clear, and then walk in front of a semi when they should catch the driver’s eye before proceeding. Very risky on the Peds part and they lost their life for trying to save a couple of minutes. Only cross a street when it’s safe to do so! Please check out my latest video on YT about the responsibilities we all have on teaching children about street safety, and that perhaps it’s time to teach it in schools. Channel DontDentMyCar. And yes those illegally parked vehicle owners bear some of the responsibility here because they helped in creating a dangerous situation. It isn’t a single ‘they are at fault’ but a shared responsibility of varying degrees based on all of the facts, including the actions of the victim.

  • I don’t understand why someone with life’s experiences would step between parked vehicles (even illegally parked ones) instead of waiting for the cross walk to clear, and then walk in front of a semi when they should catch the driver’s eye before proceeding. Very risky on the Peds part and they lost their life for trying to save a couple of minutes. Only cross a street when it’s safe to do so! Please check out my latest video on YT about the responsibilities we all have on teaching children about street safety, and that perhaps it’s time to teach it in schools. Channel DontDentMyCar. And yes those illegally parked vehicle owners bear some of the responsibility here because they helped in creating a dangerous situation. It isn’t a single ‘they are at fault’ but a shared responsibility of varying degrees based on all of the facts, including the actions of the victim.

  • Re “stepping out from between cars”: put it in the same category as “darted out,” “ran the light,” “suddenly cut in front of me,” and all the other excuses that may be reported by a driver who just killed a vulnerable street user. Dead men (and women) tell no tales, but the driver is often in a position to–and in many cases does–provide a self-serving, fictionalized account of the circumstances of the crash. Not all drivers, but a surprising number. Too often, NYPD’s failure to gather evidence at crash scene or competently question the driver deprives the victim’s survivors of the ability to disprove the driver’s lies.

    Why on earth do police make a routine practice, even before concluding their “investigation,” of anonymously leaking the driver’s self-serving account of how he or she just killed someone? You can be sure they are telling Mr, Gitlitz’s survivors that “all details are confidential during the investigation,” if they are answering their calls at all.

  • Brad Aaron

    Please educate yourself. Most NYC pedestrians struck by drivers are following the law. They are in crosswalks, crossing with the signal, or on sidewalks, where vehicles aren’t supposed to be.

    NYC DOT has a street safety program for kids. Yet it’s drivers who see pedestrians as obstacles (who may dent their cars) who need teaching.

    Let’s not lose sight of who’s doing all the maiming and killing.

  • Starting a response with an insult? Don’t insult me. It appears you have an anti-vehicle agenda, if that’s true, that makes you appear fanatical. The truth is there are humans both inside vehicles and on the ground and both are capable of making mistakes and/or ignoring the law.

    The DOT program is doing a fantastic job as is obvious by my vids so lets, as you imply, just skip that topic and I guess assume that every ped is obeying the law (and aren’t getting run over because of their negligence). And you’re ability to know what drivers think (generalizing are we?), that they see peds as obstacles, is amazing. How’d you get that insight?

    And btw I didn’t drive for 30 years so don’t read into my ‘name.’ Maybe you should shed some of the stereo type attitude and look at the problem with an open mind, considering we’re both here to try to prevent the injury or death of pedestrians, and drivers… you know, the unnecessary death of humans in and around our road system. geez.

  • Andrew

    I fully agree with both @bradaaron:disqus and @twitter-22824076:disqus, but even if Mr. Gitlitz actually did step out from between two parked cars (which I find hard to believe), should the consequence really have been death? Flatbush and Atlantic are city streets, not highways, and drivers using them should be constantly watching for pedestrians.

  • Ian Dutton

    “If the truck was moving, even slowly, then crossover mirrors are not designed for that situation.”
    If it was congested, stop & go traffic, then it’s highly likely that with crossover mirrors the driver would have been aware of the pedestrian’s presence and either been able to stop or at least not drag the victim down the road. The fatality very possibly could have been prevented. Not having the required safety equipment – therefore operating illegally – leads to a presumption of disregard for safe operation.

  • Ian Dutton

    Having been at the scene shortly after the incident, there was in fact a white box truck parked at the curb, facing the wrong direction. I can’t explain how it could have even got there given the traffic volume on Flatbush (unless it drove through the red light at the 4th Ave. crosswalk, which is my assumption). But I don’t think he was crossing between parked cars so much as cars stopped in congestion.

    At this intersection, traffic is often backed up on Flatbush and people regularly cross mid-block though the stopped vehicles. I don’t condone it, but it’s understandable given how dangerous even the crosswalks here can be and the inconvenience of dodging through all the vehicles.

  • @de142ad8f56d1bec2e3ede7d7901bd18:disqus – Do you know anyone who’s been injured in a pedestrian accident? I’m a reporter hoping to speak with someone about pedestrian safety in Fort Greene.

  • @Ben_Kintisch:disqus – I’m a reporter looking into pedestrian safety in Fort Greene. Could I chat with you for a few minutes?

  • Ben Kintisch

    Hi Erin
    You can get in touch with me. benjaminkintisch@yahoo.com

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