No Charges or Tickets for Driver Who Ran Red, Killed Woman on Sidewalk
A driver ran a red light yesterday evening, crashing her SUV into another car, mounting the sidewalk and striking three people at a bus stop in Richmond Hill, Queens. Meena Mahabir, 52, was killed. Her 2-year-old niece was critically injured, and the toddler’s mother was also hospitalized. The driver does not face any charges and has not received any traffic tickets after the crash, NYPD said this afternoon.
Just before 6 p.m. yesterday, police say, the unidentified 43-year-old driver ran a red light at 108th Street while driving west on Atlantic Avenue in her white Mitsubishi SUV. In the intersection, she collided with a northbound Kia driven by a 23-year-old woman. Then the Mitsubishi driver crashed into three people at a bus stop.
Mahabir was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital. She was at the bus stop with her two-year-old niece, who was critically injured, and the girl’s mother, 48, who is in stable condition. Both drivers were also taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.
Mahabir lived a block away from where she was killed, according to police. Witnesses say she tried to save her niece by throwing her out of harm’s way. “She screamed,” witness Miriam Sierra told WABC. “Saved the baby’s life, yeah she really did.”
“The older woman had tire marks, a lot of cuts and marks,” witness Norman Alsaivi told WNBC.
A police sergeant and officer happened to be at the scene when the crash occurred, WABC said, and police are now looking at surveillance video from nearby businesses. NYPD says the investigation is ongoing.
WABC closed its report from the scene with a shot of one of the intersection’s traffic signals, located in the median. “You can see that it’s sort of off-kilter. It’s somewhat at a diagonal,” ABC’s Josh Einiger says in the segment. “The driver told investigators that she did not see the red light and DOT [is] right now looking into whether that light may have played a role. She also said she was looking into sun glare from the setting sun.”
Other drivers had no trouble seeing the intersection’s multiple red signals. “I was at the red light for two seconds and [the car] passed me so it was definitely a red light,” witness Norman Alsaidi told WABC.
Atlantic Avenue is one of the city’s most dangerous streets. So far, the city’s efforts to cut speeding and reduce fatalities have focused on sections of Atlantic west of where yesterday’s crash occurred. Atlantic was the first street in the city’s 25 mph Arterial Slow Zone program, but the slow zone does not reach east of 76th Street. DOT also unveiled an uninspiring “Great Streets” plan to make minor tweaks to Atlantic, but both phases of the project cover areas west of Rockaway Boulevard.
Last April, 54-year-old Oscar Pauzhi was killed trying to cross Atlantic Avenue at 107th Street, a block away from the scene of yesterday’s fatality. Eight people, all motor vehicle occupants, have been injured at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and 108th Street through the end of August this year, according to DOT’s Vision Zero View map.
The intersection is located within Community Board 9 and on the border of City Council districts represented by Eric Ulrich and Ruben Wills. The crash occurred within the 102nd Precinct, which has issued 357 citations for red-light running and 361 citations for speeding through the end of August this year [PDF].
To voice your concerns about traffic safety to Deputy Inspector Deodat Urprasad, commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, attend its next community council meeting, scheduled for October 20 at 7:00 p.m. at Richmond Hill Library, 118-14 Hillside Avenue.