Driver Fails to Yield and Kills 67-Year-Old Yuenei Wu in Midtown

Livery driver Edip Ozlemis struck and killed Yuenei Wu as she crossed Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan yesterday afternoon. Photo: Google Maps

A livery car driver turning left onto Eighth Avenue from 38th Street struck and killed 67-year-old Yuenei Wu yesterday afternoon. Police charged 39-year-old Edip Ozlemis for failing to yield to a pedestrian, an unclassified misdemeanor.

Witnesses told the Daily News and the Post that Wu was crossing in the crosswalk at 4:31 p.m. when Ozlemis struck her with a Chevy Suburban, pinning her beneath the vehicle.

“After he hit her, he stopped, but then he kept driving because he didn’t realize what had happened. People were yelling for him to stop,” witness James Green told the Post.

A crowd lifted the car off Wu in an attempt to save her. She was unconscious and unresponsive when officers arrived at the scene, according to NYPD. Wu was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Under Section 19-190 of the city administrative code, also known as the Right of Way Law,
Ozlemis was charged with misdemeanor failure to yield, which carries a maximum sentence of a $250 fine and 30 days in jail. NYPD’s investigation is ongoing.

This was at least the second fatal crash in the Midtown South Precinct this year, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. Both collisions reportedly involved livery car drivers behind the wheel of SUVs.

If you’d like to voice your concerns about traffic violence to Inspector Russell J. Green, commanding officer of Midtown South, the precinct community council meets on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Avenue.

The City Council district where this crash occurred is represented by Corey Johnson.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    Manslaughter is a form of homicide – conduct which causes the death of a person – committed when a defendant recklessly causes death (second-degree)

  • HamTech87

    With the ped refuge island, the driver should have had a clear view of the crosswalk.

  • Hilda

    Does Cooper’s Law apply as well? A TLC driver issued a failure to yield should automatically have a license suspension until investigation is completed?

  • new yorker

    Yes, I think he lost his license as well.

  • Geck

    Giant SUVs should not be permitted as livery vehicles by the TLC, both for safety and environmental reason.

  • dtrain

    I work near there and passed by shortly after it happened. This is a particularly dangerous intersection because it’s a two-lane cross street so it carries more cars than most, plus it’s halfway between the PABT and Penn Station so there’s a ton of foot traffic as well (usually in the 8th Ave bike lane.) Often cars try to turn left onto 8th Ave from the right-hand lane while cars going straight will swerve around all the cars stopped for the turn. Note in the Post and News photo how the car is in the third lane over, close the the east side of 8th. A standard left turn would put him in the first lane. I’m guessing he did a dangerous wide turn around other cars that were waiting to turn.

  • MatthewEH

    I’m imagining that’s how it went town, too.

  • Last night NBC4 called it a “terrible accident” and devoted over 90% of their story to interviewing the heroic folks that lifted the car off of her. Nothing on how the crash occurred. Nothing talking about the street geometry. It was incredible how bad of “journalism” it was.

  • joyauto

    As usual, let’s blame the intersection. It’s dangerous! The driver had nothing to do with it. You apologists are fools. If thousands of drivers can drive safely through the intersection on a daily basis and one driver kills someone, why is it the intersections fault?

  • joyauto

    Right, let’s blame the SUV. The driver had noting to do with it.

  • Lora Tenenbaum

    I agree with your point made here and other-where among these comments that the primary cause of the deadly collision was the driver. He drove irresponsibly and due to that he killed someone. This should be treated as a greater crime rather than misdemeanor failure to yield. However, the comments you deride do have some value as well. The commenters are trying to think of ways to keep dangerous drivers from being so dangerous. I don’t think they are trying to diminish the responsibility of the driver. But we do have to sometimes design things to save people from themselves. Dtrain suggest that we look at the structure and use of the intersections. Geck suggests that we look to fix the vehicles used. Nothing wrong with trying to problem-solve.

  • joyauto

    Instead of fixing the road and the vehicle, how about fixing the drivers? How about passing laws with teeth. If you kill someone with a vehicle it should be murder…even if you still want to call it an accident! Accidentally shooting someone with a gun is a crime… what’s the difference?

  • This gets to a good point: we have a state of affairs in which drivers don’t expect consequences for breaking the law. We have gone so far down this path, entrenching this pattern as the norm, that it is very difficult to accomplish anything with laws. The only hope for improvement is to somehow alter this underlying cultural pattern.

    Compare it to smoking in offices and restaurants. No one even attempts that anymore, because every potential smoker knows that the lighting of a cigarette in such a location would be shut down immediately.

    We need something analogous regarding driver misbehaviour. Instead of drivers routinely stopping ahead of the stop line (sometimes even within the crosswalk), running stop signs and red lights, turning with no signals, barely slowing to make a right on red (in foreign lands outside the City, of course), speeding, blocking the box, etc., we need to create the expectation that doing any of those things will bring about immediate consequences. Only then will drivers stop doing them.

    The means of acheiving this state of affairs would be partly technological: cameras at every intersection; ID sensors and speed governors in every car. And there would have to be substantial changes in the law, allowing for the introduction of severe penalties for these infractions (lifetime loss of driving privileges, for example). Finally, the personal touch on the part of law enforcement would be necessary: we would have to have an officer at nearly every intersection. This, of course, would require a shifting of the police department’s focus away from the militaristic efforts to battle largly imaginary “terrorists” to the actual problems that plague us in day-to-day life here in the real world.

    The bad news is that all of this would require political will that is entirely absent in our backward society. For this reason, the prospects for positive change are extremely slim.

  • joyauto

    You are so “right on.” Motorists are more afraid of overstaying a parking meter because they know the punishment will be swift. Failing to yield right-of-way? Hardly any enforcement.

  • Added to our database of dangerous intersections. Do a search on our database for “fatal accident” and “pedestrian”.


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