Trucker Who Killed Woman Admits Negligence, NYPD Still Blames Victim

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Footage from the scene shows Floria Burton walking around a stopped truck blocking an unmarked crosswalk before the driver accelerated and ran her over. Still via Daily News

Update: The Daily News identified the Queens hit-and-run victim as Agalia Gounaris, 84, of Flushing. Police said the bus was located in Connecticut, en route to a casino, and that by that time evidence was lost due to rain. The driver was being questioned, the News reported.

Motorists took the lives of two people walking yesterday, bringing to eight the number of pedestrians killed by New York City drivers in the last week.

Floria Burton, 55, known locally as “Ms. Pat,” was pushing a laundry cart across Seneca Avenue at Bryant Avenue in Hunts Point at around 8:30 a.m. Thursday when a dump truck driver ran her over.

There are no traffic signals at Seneca and Bryant avenues. Video published by the Daily News shows Burton approach the corner and pause before walking around the front of the truck, which appears to be blocking an unmarked crosswalk. When she is directly in front of the truck, the driver accelerates into her.

Floria Burton. Photo via Daily News
Floria Burton. Photo via Daily News

Burton’s friend Maritza DeJesus, who saw what happened, spoke with the News:

“He backed up and went over her again,” she said. Burton was alive, but fading fast, DeJesus said, tears streaming down her face.

“I was talking to her. I was saying, ‘Pat, hold on! Pat, hold on! Pat, hold on!’ When she looked at me she didn’t even recognize me. She was already gone.”

Despite video evidence indicating otherwise, unnamed police sources gave the impression that an oblivious Burton stepped into the driver’s path as the truck approached. In a story with the headline “Woman talking on cell phone killed by dump truck,” the Post reported that Burton was “chatting on her cell phone when she was struck.”

“Witnesses said she was on the phone and did not see the truck coming when she was hit, according to police,” reported DNAinfo, which posted video that clearly indicates Burton was hit as she tried to walk around the stopped truck.

It is not clear from the video if Burton was talking on a phone, but she wasn’t holding one to her head. Meanwhile, NYPD filed no charges despite the driver’s admission that he wasn’t paying attention when he hit Burton. From the DNAinfo story:

The 44-year-old truck driver stayed on the scene after the accident, and although he said he was distracted and looking off to the right while driving, officers do not suspect criminality at this point, and it is unlikely that he will be arrested, police said.

Twelve hours after Burton was killed, an unidentified woman was hit by several drivers at Main Street and Kissena Boulevard in Flushing.

DNAinfo reported that the driver of a Skyliner tour bus struck the woman and did not stop. Witnesses said other motorists ran the victim over as she laid in the street.

“I saw the body in the street. She was on her side. She was laying there and a couple cars were running her over,” [said] Edward Fauntleroy, 50.

“At least five cars hit her. It was ridiculous. You can’t tell me none of the other cars saw that body. It’s Main Street, not some alley,” he added.

The victim died at the scene. No arrests had been made as of this afternoon, NYPD told Streetsblog, and police had not determined the victim’s identity.

New York City motorists have killed at least eight pedestrians in the last seven days. MTA bus drivers killed two people who were walking with the right of way this week. The driver of an SUV killed 72-Year-Old Mitchel Darroux in East Flatbush last Sunday. A motorist killed a child, her grandfather, and another man on a Bronx sidewalk on Halloween.

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