Unlicensed Truck Driver Kills Noshat Nahian, 8, in Northern Blvd Crosswalk

Unlicensed truck driver Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos killed Moshat Nahian, a third-grader who was walking to school this morning with his sister. Photo: WNBC via Daily News
Unlicensed truck driver Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, 51, killed Noshat Nahian, a third-grader who was walking to school this morning with his sister. They were in the crosswalk on Northern Boulevard. Photo: WNBC via Daily News

This morning just before 8:00 a.m., Noshat Nahian, age 8, was on his way from his home on 32nd Avenue to school at PS 152 when a tractor-trailer driver turning left onto Northern Boulevard struck Nahian in the crosswalk along 61st Street. He was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital.

The driver of the truck, Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, 51, of Newark, New Jersey, has been arrested by police and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operation of a motor vehicle in violation of safety rules. The office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown tells Streetsblog that Osorio-Palaminos has been charged with driving with a suspended license and that representatives from the DA’s office were at the crash scene this morning.

Aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree is, in practice, the default charge against unlicensed drivers who kill pedestrians and cyclists in New York City. It carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

According to reports, Nahian was with his 11-year-old sister, who ran home to get his mother. Once she arrived on the scene, a witness told the Post, “She was crying and asking ‘what’s going on?’” A small red holiday gift bag that Nahian was carrying to school was left in the street where he was killed.

Nahian is the eleventh New York City child under age 13 killed by drivers so far this year, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. Traffic crashes are the leading injury-related killer for New York City children, according to the Department of Health. In a similar crash last February, Amar Diarrassouba, 7, was killed by a turning truck driver while walking to school in East Harlem with his 10-year-old brother.

The truck involved in today’s crash is registered in New Jersey and owned by Roadtex Transportation Corporation. Streetsblog’s inquiries with Roadtex about the driver have not been returned. Because the truck is not registered in New York, it is exempt from state laws requiring crossover mirrors, which improve visibility near the truck’s cab.

The truck appears large enough to require an oversize permit from the city, which are necessary for trucks longer than 55 feet to operate on surface streets. NYPD said its Collision Investigation Squad is looking into whether the driver had the required permits. Video from the crash scene captured by DNAinfo reporter Katie Honan shows NYPD investigators testing the truck’s brakes this morning.

Northern Boulevard, where the driver was turning, is a through truck route, but 61st Street, where the driver was coming from, is a primarily residential street and is not a listed truck route.

Today’s collision is, in many ways, a textbook example of a common type of crash that results in death for pedestrians. Crashes resulting in death or serious injury to pedestrians were three times more common for left-turning drivers than right-turning drivers, according to a comprehensive 2010 DOT pedestrian safety study. The study also found that more pedestrians are struck crossing with the pedestrian signal, like Nahian, than crossing against the signal, and that crashes involving trucks and buses are three times more likely to kill a pedestrian than crashes with cars.

Police speak with Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, the truck's driver, this morning. Photo: News
Police speak with Mauricio Osorio-Palaminos, the truck’s driver, this morning. Photo: Daily News

Pedestrians hit by drivers were the leading injury category of emergency patients at Elmhurst Hospital, where Nahian was pronounced dead, from 2000 to 2009. At a pedestrian safety summit last week at Elmhurst, Council Member Daniel Dromm called Northern Boulevard “another boulevard of death.” Last month, families and friends of traffic violence victims, including those of people killed on Northern Boulevard, marched in Jackson Heights to demand action from the city.

The area where Nahian was killed is represented by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “I am devastated to learn of the tragic death this morning of a 3rd grader attempting to cross the street on his way to PS 152 in Woodside,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “No child should ever die simply trying to cross the street on his way to school. We have much work to do to make certain this never happens again and I am committed to a world where Vision Zero is a reality.”

To encourage Van Bramer to keep up efforts to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7370, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov or @JimmyVanBramer.

The intersection is on the border of NYPD’s 108th and 114th Precincts, but is within the jurisdiction of the 114th. As of October, the most recent month for which data is available [PDF], the precinct has issued 161 tickets for truck route violations, 156 tickets for improper turns, and 182 tickets for failure to yield to pedestrians so far this year.

Last month, Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney was named commanding officer of the 114th Precinct. To voice your concerns about traffic safety, attend the next community council meeting. Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month, but due to the Christmas holiday, the next meeting is scheduled for January 28, at 7:00 p.m. at Riccardo’s by the Bridge, 21-04 24th Avenue. Visit the precinct’s website or call the precinct at 718-626-9327 for more information.

  • This is profoundly sad and frustrating. If there are not significant reforms to come out of this annus horribilis of vulnerable street user deaths, including multiple children and elderly folks run over in the EXACT SAME WAY, this is essentially legalized murder and we should depose anyone who stands in the way of such meaningful reform. The mainstream media, for burying these stories and excusing them for car culture’s sake, is first.

  • Clarence

    Northern Blvd children deaths are now ridiculously common. Four on/near it in last few months. Something has to change. I used to ride a bike on it from time to time to get places, but it is just a neighborhood highway nightmare now where people drive 40 to 45 mph and make horrible manuvers. I go out of my way to avoid it even if it takes me a significant more time to get where I need to.

  • JK

    Northern Boulevard is a death trap stuck in a 1980’s time-warp of bad traffic engineering. It’s an acid test for the city of New York. Which comes first there, traffic flow or the lives of little kids?

  • I keep saying this but it stays true: London, which has about the same population as New York, has only half the annual traffic deaths of New York City. London’s Metropolitan Police don’t really care about road safety much more than the NYPD but London has speed and traffic light cameras, far more traffic calming and, while not doing enough, prosecutes at least some bad drivers. It shows how easily Bill deBlasio and the NYPD could eliminate many of these appalling deaths: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-fort-greene-tragedy-londons-missing.html

  • The Post blamed an 8-year-old kid for “wearing a hood” while walking to school in 40 degree weather this morning. I’ll remember that when I dress my daughter for her walk to school this winter.

    Then again, the unlicensed truck driver, who had no legal right to be on the road in the first place, is wearing a hat. Do we know whether or not it obstructed his view?

    The Post is part of the problem. Politicians and other reporters have to have the guts to call them out on their garbage.

  • JoshNY

    Can DeBlasio and the NYPD implement speed cameras and red light cameras themselves? I thought this was the kind of thing that had to go through Albany.

  • I’d even argue this: in many ways Northern is now worse than Queens Blvd. I frequent both. At Queens Blvd there are more lanes, yes, but there are a few safety islands, a little better timing to cross, and an expectation that you are entering hell when you cross and you are very aware people have been killed over the years.

    Northern is far less intimidating at first look because it is not as wide. But cars can move just as quickly and it lulls people into thinking it is just a wider than normal road. Cars just gun it all day long trying to beat lights. They do really scary things. There’s lots of small debris from car collisions you can see while walking from over the weeks/months. We should start immediately to time the lights for no more than 25 mph.

  • anon

    Getting the PBA to not oppose the cameras would help.


    ‘The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said Friday it’s urging lawmakers
    to reject the legislation pushed by the Bloomberg administration for
    the new devices.’

    That with deblasio pushing cameras as an important issue would get albany to go along.

  • anon

    I hate wearing a hat in a car. I feel like I see better without one. Same if I’m walking around. But in a car you can close the windows, or at least most of the way, and turn on the heat if you want (essentially free, uses waste heat from engine) and then not need the hat.

  • JoshNY

    Well, all we need to get that to happen is to develop a new model camera that won’t ticket cops.

  • Has anyone pointed out: we had four people die in a MetroNorth train crash. And the agency has been reviewing all procedures and making all sorts of safety adjustments – spending a good deal of money and doing it swiftly – to try to prevent it ever happening again.

    We have now had four children die (three on Northern Blvd, and another one just a block away from today’s tragedy) and we have little to nothing being done to prevent the next. (And we have one major newspaper reporting he was wearing a hood on his head….)

  • anon

    Is that their objection?

    “Speed cameras are no substitute for live policing,” PBA President Patrick Lynch told the the Daily News.

    He said the cameras would allow drivers who are drunk, carrying weapons and fleeing crimes to “slip by.”

    If it is, some human has to approve the tickets I think, could always just not send the tickets to cop cars. Camera enforcement wouldn’t necessarily be immune to their ticket fixing anyway.

  • JamesR

    Yes, it has been pointed out on this very blog. It is apples to oranges, though. In the case of automobiles, you have privately owned vehicles utilizing a public right of way. In the case of trains, you’ve got government-owned vehicles on a government-owned right of way. This changes the safety regime entirely.

    Nonetheless, it remains a tremendous cultural blindspot that we allow this to go on, that’s for sure.

  • JoshNY

    That’s a straw man. Nobody thinks speed cameras are going to apprehend drunk drivers or catch bank robbers or be a visible neighborhood presence to deter street crime or do all the other things that real live cops are suited to do. Rather, speed cameras would supplement live cops in an area of weakness for them in order to free up the cops to do the things they’re best at. Nobody is advocating that speed cameras should be anything more than a supplement to live policing.

  • I blogged recently about the glaring difference between the safety regimes for rail and road. It’s a striking difference, to say the least: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-crash-on-brixton-road-backsliding-on.html

  • stairbob

    Trying to imagine this headline: “Unlicensed Airline Pilot Kills Passenger, Fined $500”

  • anon

    I realize that nobody is advocating that. But the PBA might want any money that would be used to buy and maintain cameras to be used to hire more cops. Or to keep the force from shrinking further. Cameras reduce the number of cops needed to enforce traffic laws. Not surprising the PBA isn’t on board then.

  • 1bestdog

    Why on earth would the PBA oppose such life saving measures?

    If they it makes them obsolete maybe less donut runs and more staffing at intersections enforcing these infractions.

    And maybe the priority for traffic officers should be targeting these offenders instead of parking tickets.

  • 1bestdog

    It might make drivers think twice. As it is, they know the cops are literally letting them get away with murder.

  • 1bestdog

    The city answers that everyday. Traffic flow.

  • JoshNY

    In either case, though, we’re talking about self-interest and not actually anything to do with improving public safety.

    Saying “[c]ameras reduce the number of cops needed to enforce traffic laws” implies that the NYPD is actually interested in enforcing traffic laws. If anything I think it’s more likely that the results of camera enforcement will highlight how many cops we’re paying NOT to enforce traffic laws effectively.

  • 1bestdog

    I would like to see ONE reporter ask the next mayor and police commissioner at the next press conference what they plan to do about the safety of New Yorkers while crossing the street.

    Then I would like to see even a fraction of pedestrian New Yorkers to storm the streets and tell the city their lives count and shut down the almighty “flow of traffic” until we get some results.

  • 1bestdog

    A green light for drivers simultaneous with the “walk” sign is a recipe for disaster. All the drivers see, or want to see, is their green light.

  • anon

    I don’t know that traffic cops are allowed to issue moving violations. Not sure what would have to change for them to be allowed to.

  • anon

    Well the original issue was can deBlasio and the NYPD get cameras on the streets? They need approval from Albany, sure, but I say if both support it, it would get done. If necessary to throw the union a bone on this, like staffing level guarantees, do it.

  • Joe R.

    If I recall the lights are timed for 30 mph but that still doesn’t keep motorists from gunning it to make lights, or driving well over 30 mph. The hard fact is you can retime lights for whatever speed but motorists never seem to catch on. They just gun it when the light goes green, even if it means they need to slam on the brakes a block later for a red. The best solution on Northern Boulevard and citiwide is to remove as many traffic signals as possible and go with uncontrolled intersections. It works because motorist’s self-interest in not colliding with other cars keeps speeds to 15-20 mph at intersections. On roads where you have frequent intersections, motorists also catch on to the fact the it makes no sense to drive faster than 20 mph in between intersections only to have to hit the brakes every 250 feet. Seriously, it works elsewhere and would work great here. Traffic lights exist mainly to allow motor vehicles to drive faster than about 20 mph. However, such speeds have no place in urban environments, especially when the end result of 30 mph speeds and traffic signals is the same 15 mph average speed as would be the case with uncontrolled intersections. What do traffic lights accomplish then? Nothing except to make things more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

    Just look at traffic flow and driver behavior during power outages. That makes the case for uncontrolled intersections.

  • Joe R.

    You need to take the lane and keep up with traffic flow to safely ride on Northern Boulevard. In most places riding right of the traffic lane puts you squarely in the door zone. This might be OK on a residential street where you can clearly see the rare instances of people opening doors, but it’s not on a commercial strip like Northern with people frequently entering/exiting cars. Anyway, once you get the hang of it Northern Boulevard is actually pretty enjoyable to ride on, but it’s definitely not suitable for timid or slow riders who just can’t physically keep pace with traffic.

    BTW, Northern Boulevard actually seems less safe for cyclists during off peak hours when speeds creep well past 40 mph. During peak hours traffic levels typically conspire to keep speeds at 20-25 mph. This is a suitable speed for any decent cyclist to keep pace with traffic, especially when you can often draft large vehicles. During those times, in my opinion the potholes are the most dangerous part of riding on Northern Boulevard.

  • Joe R.

    Sad to say I think it is their primary objection even though the PBA won’t come out and say so. Cops are among the worst drivers both on and off-duty. The only reason many still have their licenses is due to “professional courtesy”. Cameras won’t grant such courtesy, although they won’t put points on a license, either.

  • anon


    ‘Modesto Police officer Steve Silva, a 34-year police veteran who
    personally approves each ticket, denies about 20 percent of the cases
    that the Redflex system presents to him. “I have to see a good
    violation,” he told me. “If I can’t identify the driver, the picture is
    too bad quality… sometimes there’s a big vehicle blocking the limit
    line, sometimes it’s just real close, and I’ll dismiss it because any
    doubt goes to the citizens, 100 percent.”’

    If the set up is the same in NYC, then whatever cops are doing the enforcement can throw out any ticket that is driven by some cop. They could just put a little sticker in the window or something so the operator sees they’re cops. If that’s their only objection I’m sure they can find a workaround. Or just get the tickets tossed out or something. I’m sure they do that plenty already.

  • snobum

    I know this is the smallest part of this story but I’m really sick of all the oversized trucks. One parks outside my apartment nearly every night around 12 or 1am, idling, while delivering milk to Starbucks. I don’t think delivering milk requires a tractor trailer. Who is supposed to enforce stuff like that?

  • mattkime

    you might complain to your community board member.

  • d’elite_ driver

    Go cry to yo mama!

  • The Post didn’t “blame” the kid, the driver who was behind the truck said that’s what she saw happen.

  • andrelot

    Your idea is absurd. Removing traffic lights work on lightly trafficked intersections, or where you fit roundabouts.

    You would cause traffic mayhem removing traffic lights there, given the volumes. But, then, you are the extremist guy who wants to cordone the whole of New York off-limits to cars even if it further removes the city from the way things work in America and crash its economy.

  • Joe R.

    Cars don’t benefit NYC’s economy at all. I could argue that with the externalities they cost the city a ton of money. As far as removing the city further from the way things work in America, nothing wrong with that. There should be more places to live where you not only don’t need to drive, but also don’t have to deal with more than the minimum essential number of motor vehicles. NYC will have no trouble attracting lots of people if it builds itself on that model.

    Roundabouts are a great alternative to traffic lights also. Installing more of them would be part of the traffic signal removal initiative.

  • stairbob

    Post-Sandy, lower Manhattan with the traffic lights off was fantastic (as a cyclist) — after the HOV restrictions were in place.

  • Guest

    Last I heard, the NYPD was still having extensive problems internally due to all the violations from the red light cameras.

    The Department of Finance was requiring them to pay their tickets unless they were actually responding to an emergency (i.e. adhering to explicit legal requirements).

    Naturally, this ran directly into the Culture of Corruption amongst New York’s “Finest.” I’m sure the last thing they want is more enforcement that actually reigns in their rampant illegal activities.



  • poop

    i am so sad for Noshat Nahian

  • 365Days

    if ur his sister whats ur teacher’s name?

  • this is a tragedy all the way around.

  • The Post blamed an 8-year-old kid for “wearing a hood” while walking to school in 40 degree weather this morning. Can DeBlasio and the NYPD implement speed cameras and red light cameras themselves.

    Calgary Driving School


The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (3 Killed This Week; 213 This Year; 15 Drivers Charged*) Woodside: Noshat Nahian, 8, Struck by Unlicensed Tractor-Trailer Driver in Northern Boulevard Crosswalk While […]

Car Dealers Turn Northern Boulevard’s Sidewalks Into Vehicle Showrooms

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