Ngozi Agbim, 73, Killed by Truck Driver at Crash-Prone Brooklyn Intersection

A senior was struck and killed by a truck driver at a crash-prone intersection in Brooklyn Monday.

At approximately 9:40 a.m., Ngozi Agbim, 73, was attempting to cross the nine lanes of traffic where Church Avenue crosses Ocean Parkway, at the terminus of the Prospect Expressway, as the truck driver was making a right turn. Witnesses told the Daily News the victim pounded on the truck before she fell and was run over by the rear wheels.

If the Daily News account is correct, Agbim was walking east on Church Avenue and the truck driver was westbound on Church before attempting the turn onto Prospect Expressway. That would mean Agbim was walking toward the truck when the driver entered the intersection.

Agbim, who was on her way home from church, died at the scene. A retired head librarian at LaGuardia Community College, she is survived by her husband and three children, according to the Daily News.

The truck driver, Eric Turnbach of Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, was cited for failure to exercise due care, the Daily News said. Church Avenue and Prospect Expressway are on a truck route, but trucks exceeding 55 feet in length are not allowed on surface streets without a permit. Video from the scene indicates that the trailer of Turnbach’s truck is 53 feet long.

In addition to Agbim, semi truck drivers have killed at least six pedestrians on NYC surface streets in the last 10 months.

It is not known if the truck involved in this crash was equipped with crossover mirrors, which give truck drivers a better view of pedestrians who are directly in front of them. Trucks registered outside New York are exempt from the state’s crossover mirror requirement. We have a message in with Central Pennsylvania Transportation, the Lancaster-based company that owns the truck.

Ngozi Agbim with her husband, Silas Agbim.

With nine lanes of north-south traffic and five lanes for motorists traveling east-west, the intersection where Ngozi Agbim was killed must be one of the most inhumane places to walk in New York City. There were 36 pedestrian and cyclist injuries and four fatalities there between 1995 and 2008, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat. A look at reader comments on Ditmas Park Corner coverage of this crash gives some insight into the dread this interchange evokes in pedestrians and motorists alike.

Six pedestrians were killed on Ocean Parkway between 2009 and 2011, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Council Member Brad Lander included a line item for this intersection among his FY 2013 participatory budget proposals, garnering $200,000 toward improvements. In a statement released yesterday, Lander wrote: “I will be convening a meeting with the NYC DOT and the local stakeholders who crafted this project to discuss the status of the proposal, and then we’ll report back on what we’ve learned. This intersection is a top priority and I will continue to urge both the City and State DOT to come to a resolution on changes that will enhance safety and help prevent tragedies like what we saw today.”

This fatal crash occurred in the 66th Precinct, which issued 245 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian in 2012. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Michael Deddo, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 66th Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at 59-10 13th Avenue. Call 718-851-5601 for information.

  • Andrew

    She was run over by the tandem (trailer) tires which means he was already 3/4 through his turn before she she started crossing. Plus, she had time to bang on the side of the trailer before getting hit so she had time to step back out of the way.

    In other words, the truck driver did not yield to the pedestrian. Requiring the pedestrian to step back and wait is, by definition, failure to yield.

    You are blaming the victim.

    The whole reason he got the ticket he did is because he WAS NOT at fault. When a truck driver kills someone with his truck because of something he was at fault for he goes to jail for vehicular manslaughter. They don’t just get a little “well, you could have been a little more cautious” ticket.

    Welcome to Streetsblog. If you are new here, perhaps you are not yet aware, but one of the recurring themes around here is the NYPD’s callous disregard for pedestrian safety.

  • Brad Aaron

    Unless the truck driver was drunk, there is about a zero percent chance of a manslaughter charge. You don’t go to jail just for running someone over in New York State.

    NYPD tickets only about half of drivers who kill pedestrians, so clearly they determined this crash was the trucker’s fault. You don’t get a citation for not causing a collision.