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Drivers Killed 3 Seniors This Weekend, Bringing 10-Day Death Toll to 11

The wave of traffic violence that began with the deaths of three people on Halloween continued over the weekend, when motorists killed three pedestrians in Manhattan and Queens. Drivers have killed at least 11 people walking in the city in the last 10 days.

The yellow cab driver who killed 88-year-old Luisa Rosario was charged under the Right of Way Law. Photo via Daily News
The yellow cab driver who killed 88-year-old Luisa Rosario was charged under the Right of Way Law. Photo via Daily News
The yellow cab driver who killed 88-year-old Luisa Rosario was charged under the Right of Way Law. Photo via Daily News

The three most recent victims were all seniors. At approximately 12:45 a.m. Sunday, Salifu Abubakar drove a yellow cab into 88-year-old Luisa Rosario as she crossed W. 109th Street at Columbus Avenue in the crosswalk with the walk signal, according to published accounts. Abubakar was turning right from Columbus onto 109th, Gothamist reported, as Rosario was crossing 109th from north to south. Rosario died at St. Luke’s hospital.

NYPD charged Abubakar with violating the Right of Way Law, according to the Times. Abubakar's license to drive a cab was suspended.

The Daily News reported that Abubakar, who is 73, had been at the wheel for 16 hours when the crash occurred, four hours longer than cab drivers are supposed to work during a single shift. As Streetsblog has reported, New York City cabbies are permitted to log more hours per shift than long-haul truckers who drive on interstate highways.

Council Member Mark Levine, who represents the district where Rosario was killed, issued the following statement:

The tragic death of Luisa Rosario is a painful reminder that the grueling conditions many taxi drivers work under aren’t just bad for cabbies, they put all of us at risk. Mr. Abubkar reportedly drove at least 16 hours every Saturday -- proof that the City is not enforcing the legal limit of 12-hour shifts. We need to put mechanisms in place to make sure no other New Yorkers are endangered by fatigued taxi drivers exceeding the legal limit for hours behind the wheel.

Rather than raise standards and improve working conditions for cab drivers under Vision Zero, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has made it easier to obtain a TLC license, as cab medallion owners complain about competition from app-based services Uber and Lyft. Under current rules prospective cab drivers are not required to pass a New York City road test. The TLC has taken no action to meaningfully address factors that make driving a cab a stressful, low-paying job.

“It is very dangerous around here, especially the yellow cabs,” Elizabeth Herrera, Rosario’s neighbor and friend, told the Post. “They just fly around corners. One hit my grandmother four years ago on Amsterdam and 106. Now Luisa. This is insane!”

Also on the West Side, a motorist struck and killed an 86-year-old woman at West End Avenue and W. 64th Street late Friday afternoon. Police said the victim was walking east across the avenue and the driver was traveling north in a Toyota sedan, according to Gothamist.

"I heard this big thump and saw her go flying up in the air … (about) 10 feet in the air,” a witness told the Daily News, a sign that driver speed was a possible causal factor in the crash and contributed to the severity of the victim's injuries. NYPD filed no charges.

On Saturday at around 11:30 p.m., a driver hit a 68-year-old man as the victim was crossing South Conduit Avenue at 130th Street in Ozone Park. NYPD said the motorist saw the victim but was traveling too fast to avoid a collision.

The Queens Courier reports:

Preliminary investigation found that the vehicle, a 2012 Ford Sedan, had the green light and the right-of-way when travelling eastbound on South Conduit Avenue. As the vehicle approached the intersection, the victim attempted to run across the road within the crosswalk against the pedestrian signal.

Although the vehicle attempted to avoid the man, he was fatally struck on the driver’s side. The car stayed at the scene of the accident.

Police did not charge the driver.

Streetsblog called the NYPD public information office (DCPI) to see if police have released the identities of the people killed on Friday and Saturday, and to get whatever additional details we could about those crashes. But as she always does, Detective Kelly Ort declined to dispense any information, referring me instead to the black hole that is the DCPI email account. We'll update this post if that message yields a response.

Drivers injured several people this weekend. At around noon on Saturday, a motorist “lost control” on 99th Avenue at 205th Street in Hollis, the Post and News reported, sideswiping a 63-year-old cyclist and causing severe head injuries. Hours later a man in a Ford van hit two people on Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush. NYPD said the victims were crossing against the light. No charges were reported filed in either crash.

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