Another Serious Crash in 72nd Precinct Leaves Teenager in Critical Condition

A teenager was critically injured Tuesday when a motorist struck her in a Sunset Park crosswalk.

Yasmelin Iglesias. Photo via Daily News
Yasmelin Iglesias. Photo via Daily News

Yasmelin Iglesias, 16, was crossing the street with her mother at 48th Street and Sixth Avenue at around 9 a.m. when she was hit by the driver of a commercial van, who according to the Daily News was traveling south on Sixth.

“She was trying to open her eyes when her mom was talking to her. Her mom was hysterical,” [witness] Maria said.

“The mother was telling her, ‘Don’t go! Stay with me! You can’t die,’” Maria said. “‘You have a purpose in life, in this world! You can’t die!’”

The driver, identified only as a 29-year-old man, was not charged. He was cleared by police to drive the van from the crash site himself, according to News 12.

Locals told News 12 reckless driving is a problem in the area. “We need a speed bump so everybody can slow down,” said one man, identified as Andre. “A lot of people get hit over here.”

Iglesias was transported to Lutheran Medical Center with severe head trauma, the Daily News reported.

“I hope she has the strength to survive these surgeries,” said Altagracia Cordero, Iglesias’s grandmother, to the Daily News. “She’s young but doesn’t eat too much. She’s very skinny.”

“She’s very lovable. She’s always here checking on us.”

The crash occurred in the 72nd Precinct, where as of October local officers had issued 179 speeding tickets in all of 2013, and 123 citations for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Kiko Shao, 5, was killed by a motorist in the 72nd Precinct in September.

To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain James Grant, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 72nd Precinct council meetings happen at 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the precinct, 830 Fourth Avenue. Call 718-965-6326 for information.

  • Mark Walker

    “The driver, identified only as a 29-year-old man, was not charged. He was cleared by police to drive the van from the crash site himself…” Hurt someone with a gun, cops arrest you and take the gun. Hurt someone with a knife, cops arrest you and take the knife. Hurt someone with a vehicle, no arrest, and you drive the vehicle home. The cops may even keep your identity secret in news reports.

  • How can he not have been charged? I can see not arresting him and just giving him a summons if they know who he is and he didn’t flee the scene but for fuck’s sake hwo can it be no crime at all to hit and injure a child in a crosswalk?

  • Facts Please?

    If he had the light, it may not be a criminal act. A tragedy, but not illegal. Without evidence one way or the other they can’t arrest anybody, assuming he stayed at the scene.

    (I’m not saying that’s the case, I’m saying it hasn’t been determined yet.)

  • I’m not even saying he should have been arrested–as in “taken into custody” but I would like to know that he has been issued a citation and asked to show up in court. This happened to a friend of mine, recently. She was crossing a long street that does not have a crosswalk or a light–an Ambulance stopped to let her across and a car zoomed around the ambulance and hit her, breaking her leg bone right through her skin. She has had several surgeries and been immobilized–we’ve all been cooking and cleaning for her–for three months. The driver seems to have gotten off with nothing more than a warning. He even tried to argue–in the face of the ambulance drivers and the passersby who saw it–that he hadn’t done it. If there is no good law penalizing people for injuring others while driving recklessly then there needs to be one.

  • Duncan Watson

    Actually even if he had the light it is illegal to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

  • dporpentine

    Please. The outcome would be the same regardless.

    Driving over human bodies in New York City: sometimes it’ll make you late to work!

  • Facts Please?

    My understanding is that at a signalized intersection (which this is), pedestrians are subject to the signal in the same way cars are.

    Obviously, the first rule is “Don’t hit anything” and if the collision was avoidable, all parties still have a responsibility to do everything they could to avoid it. But that isn’t what the traffic code spells out if no other laws were broken.

    Feel free to cite the law if I missed something.

  • Facts Please?

    That situation is very different though. At an uncontrolled intersection (since its considered an unmarked crosswalk), the car does need to stop.
    Additionally, passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian is illegal on its own.

    My point is in the situation as you described it I can clearly see the laws that were broken. In this article there isn’t something that cut and dry, unless we know what phase the light was in.

    As an aside, best wishes for your friends recovery regardless of the rest of this.

  • Duncan Watson

    Though pedestrians are subject to the signal, a vehicle still must yield right of way to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. This is for obvious reasons, a person might not be fast enough to cross on the signal.

  • dporpentine

    The burden of exercising due care to avoid collisions with pedestrians is placed explicitly on the operators of vehicles. See section 4-04(d) here:

    Now please stop pretending to care.

  • dporpentine

    Exactly. This is clear from section 4-04(b)(1) of Title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York (link above).

  • CitizenSugarKane

    America is Car Country. We worship cars. We adore cars. We genuflect to cars in our designs of cities and neighborhoods. The cruel truth is, cars are often much more important than pedestrians. We should be ashamed of how much we allow the automobile to dictate how our lives are lived.

  • Andrew

    Also, if the driver was turning (there is no mention one way or the other in the article), he was explicitly obligated to yield to pedestrians.

    I’d also be interested in knowing how fast the driver was going, whether there might be any reason to believe that he wasn’t giving his full attention to the task of driving, etc. It’s possible that both parties share the blame.

    Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we’ll ever know.

  • Joe R.

    From what I understand, there are two types of law-the law as written, and the law as enforced. I’ve never heard of a pedestrian being giving a ticket for crossing on red. Maybe it was done for one day during the Guiliani administration. That being the case, I believe there are legal precedents where if the state never enforces a law for a long period of time, it permanently waives its right to enforce that law. This is a way of ensuring that old laws which make no sense in today’s world can’t be misused by the police to harass citizens.

    Something similar but not identical occurs in the case of speeding tickets. Drivers never receive speeding tickets for going 1 mph over the limit although technically they could. Instead, there’s typically a 5 to 10 mph buffer before speeding tickets are issued. This is both due to precedent and also for technical reasons (speedometer/radar inaccuracy). Anyway, since the law against pedestrians crossing on red is never enforced, legally a motorist can’t get off scott free if he/she hits a pedestrian crossing against the law. There are even a number of states (NY isn’t one of them), where a red signal is legally considered advisory only for pedestrians (i.e. a pedestrian legally can’t be ticketed for crossing on red).

    My own feelings on the matter is that larger, heavier, faster vehicles have an obligation to defer to vulnerable users, even when those users are breaking the law. Remember both cyclists and pedestrians can be minors who may not even be aware of traffic laws. When I ride, I watch for cross traffic and pedestrians even when I have the green light. It’s a reasonable precaution which has saved my neck at least a dozen times.

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  • Calei

    I know there’s currently a petition on change dot org trying to get the father of this girl home. He’s currently an inmate in Texas. I signed. I’m hoping the family doesn’t get their hopes up. I also know someone in Texas incarcerated who also had a daughter in an accident who was critical and eventually passed away…sadly. The state of Texas would not even let him attend her funeral. I’m hoping that’s not the same situation here. I encourage others to sign. Bless her heart. I’m praying for Yasmelin and her family. God Bless you all.