No Charges for Driver Who Killed Dorothy Heimann, 90, in Whitestone

The Whitestone intersection where a turning driver mortally injured 90-year-old Dorothy Heimann. Image: Google Maps
The Whitestone intersection where a turning driver mortally injured 90-year-old Dorothy Heimann. Image: Google Maps

NYPD and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown filed no charges against a driver who hit a 90-year-old woman last month, causing fatal injuries.

The victim was struck in the 109th Precinct, which made news last year for initiating a crackdown on walking in response to a series of pedestrian deaths at the hands of motorists.

Dorothy Heimann was crossing Clintonville Street at around 9:50 a.m. on February 7 when the driver hit her with a Jeep SUV while turning left from 17th Avenue, according to NYPD and accounts published by Gothamist and Ridgewood Times.

Clintonville Street at 17th Avenue, in Whitestone, is a signalized intersection of two-way residential streets. There is no exclusive turn signal, according to Google Maps photos, so if the driver had a green light, it’s likely Heimann would have been crossing with the right of way.

Heimann, who lived in Whitestone, suffered head trauma. She died on March 4.

The Right of Way Law gives police and prosecutors a tool to hold drivers accountable for harming pedestrians and cyclists who are following traffic rules, but NYPD and city DAs rarely use it. As is usually the case when law enforcers don’t file charges for a serious crash, NYPD withheld the name of the motorist.

Gothamist reported that the driver fled the scene, but the NYPD spokesperson I talked with said she saw no indication that the crash was a hit and run.

DOT crash data show that in 2015 three motor vehicle occupants were hurt in crashes at Clintonville Street at 17th Avenue and at 17th Avenue at 154th Street, which intersect a few yards to the east. Injuries to people in cars are a good indicator of collisions at high speeds. Two schools, a church, and a playground flank 17th Avenue where the 2015 crashes and the one that killed Heimann occurred.

Local cops in the 109th Precinct ticketed 867 drivers for failing to yield and 738 drivers for speeding last year, according to NYPD summons data.

This fatal collision occurred in the City Council district represented by Paul Vallone. To encourage Vallone to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at his office or on Twitter.

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