Hit-and-Run Drivers Strike Twice at Dangerous Fourth Avenue Intersection

A driver speeding north on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope this afternoon ran a red light and struck a woman, leaving her seriously injured before speeding away from the scene. Less than six weeks ago, a hit-and-run driver — also speeding north on Fourth Avenue, also running a red — injured a cyclist at the same location before crashing his car and fleeing on foot.

Police investigate the crash scene this afternoon. Photo: @JohnJayInNYC/Twitter
Police investigate the crash scene this afternoon. Photo: @JohnJayInNYC/Twitter

The woman injured today was crossing Fourth Avenue at Union Street at 12:35 p.m. when the northbound driver ran a red light and struck her in the crosswalk. She was transported to Lutheran Hospital in serious condition. According to the Daily News, she suffers from an open skull fracture. Police have not released her identity.

Witnesses interviewed by DNAinfo said the victim, age 46, landed head first on the pavement. The witnesses, who both work as EMTs, assisted the woman before an ambulance arrived. “Her face was covered with blood,” one witness said. “She was unconscious.”

The driver, behind the wheel of a dark Hyundai Elantra, fled the scene and kept going up Fourth Avenue. Police say the car may be the same vehicle that was reported stolen in Borough Park a half-hour after the crash. DNAinfo reports that police are looking for a vehicle with the license plate GRM8448.

On September 28, a similar crash occurred at the same location. A driver going north on Fourth Avenue sped past Union Street before crashing into a parked car one block away at Degraw Street. The driver got out of the car and fled on foot. Although witnesses said the driver had injured someone at Union Street before fleeing, police said the crash involved only property damage.

Two weeks after the crash, Boerum Hill resident David Pauley, 48, contacted Streetsblog to say he was the person injured by the driver at Union Street. According to a police crash report Pauley shared with Streetsblog, the driver was traveling northbound on Fourth Avenue when he ran a red light and struck another vehicle in the intersection. The driver then struck Pauley, who was going west on Union and had just entered the intersection. Like the woman injured today, Pauley landed on his head. He credits his bike helmet, which split in half, for sparing him more serious injury.

Like the woman injured today, Pauley was assisted by medical professionals who just happened to be at the intersection. In his case, it was a French doctor who was visiting New York. Pauley says his arm was in a cast for three weeks, and that the pinky and ring fingers on his right hand cannot fully extend. Unable to type or use a computer mouse, he says he will be seeing a surgeon soon before starting physical therapy.

Streetsblog asked NYPD today if it had found the driver who fled the scene in September, but a spokesperson said that because its records did not show that anyone was seriously injured in the crash, information on the investigation was not immediately available.

Fourth Avenue received a road diet to calm traffic last year. An earlier version of the plan reduced the number of northbound lanes from three to two south of Union Street, but that was changed after opposition from Community Board 6. The extra lane was extended two additional blocks south to Carroll Street.

“Especially in light of hearing the story of this poor woman at the same intersection, I feel lucky,” Pauley said today. “I walked away.”

  • J

    Designing street for rush hour volumes leads to streets that are overbuilt at all other hours. The extra capacity leads to speeding which leads to injuries and deaths. Thanks to CB6, we’ve maintained peak capacity on this stretch of 4th Ave, and the resulting injuries were all too predictable.

  • BBnet3000

    I’m sorry to say I was at the CB6 transportation committee meeting where they thought it would be a good idea to put sharrows on Van Brunt street, with the reasoning literally being to try to discourage people from cycling on Van Brunt and get them to use Imlay instead.

    Anyone who knows a thing about bicycle planning knows this is incredibly stupid, but we don’t have informed people making the decisions in this city, and our design standards are based on affecting auto traffic as little as possible, not improving safety. The result is completely predictable if you’re smarter than a CB6 member. Danger and people discouraged from using human-powered transportation.

  • adn

    I just happened to be passing through that intersection on September 4 immediately after a cyclist was run over by a truck. She escaped unscathed — just very badly shaken up. A miracle.

  • r

    Since people dying isn’t doing it, I’m not sure what else has to happen to make it clear: community boards need to be removed from the Vision Zero process. They should have no voting power and issue no resolutions on matters like traffic engineering. All they should do is hold occasional meetings where citizens can come to learn about what’s happening in the neighborhood.

  • jew

    We need some Moslems to run people over with their cars. Then have homeland security and NYPD call them terrorist attacks. In the name of security surely community boards will be relieved of their responsibilities in this matter and all non essential motor vehicle travel will be prohibited.

  • William Farrell

    It’s interesting you say this. I work on Wall St and have commented how the security measures preventing most vehicles from entering the vicinity have actually made it a safe and comfortable place to walk. Too bad it takes the fear of terrorism and not the quotidian threat of street violence.

  • stairbob

    There are miracles like this every day, I imagine.

  • YouandWhoseArmy3D

    “Police say the car may be the same vehicle that was reported stolen in Borough Park a half-hour after the crash.”

    I would be extremely surprised if the car being “stolen” was not the driver covering their own tracks. I call bullshit.

  • SheRidesABike

    That’s the first thing I thought when I read that. . . .

  • Cold Shoaler

    It almost seems like the kind of lead a collision investigation squad could follow up on, hypothetically speaking of course. There’s no reason to suspect they will actually ever pursue the culprit, much less actually catch him/her.

  • TransitSleuth

    The rate this nonsense happens, it seems like the citizens of New York should arm themselves somehow against motorists. They’re getting away with murder… no pun intended. This is sick, it just keeps happening over and over and over…

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