Drivers Killed Two Seniors in Manhattan and NYPD Filed No Charges

DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed 85-year-old George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas's path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps
DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas’s path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps

Drivers fatally struck two seniors in separate crashes in Manhattan in the last few weeks. NYPD filed no charges in either case.

On August 23 at around 3:50 p.m., 85-year-old George Mamalas was crossing W. 93rd Street at West End Avenue when someone hit him with a box truck. NYPD told the West Side Rag that the driver was westbound on 93rd, which is one-way, and turning left onto West End.

Mamalas died from his injuries on September 11. His obituary says he was a Korean War veteran, dancer, and Pilates instructor.

There is no dedicated turn signal at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street. If the driver had a green light and Mamalas entered the intersection with a steady walk signal, Mamalas would have had the right of way.

NYPD did not identify the driver, which is typical when police don’t charge or ticket a motorist who kills a person.

Drivers have killed at least five people walking on West End Avenue since January 2014, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Following a string of deaths, beginning with the crash that killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock, DOT implemented a road diet along 35 blocks of West End Avenue in the fall of 2014, but installed concrete islands to slow driver turns at just four intersections. W. 93rd Street wasn’t one of them.

George Mamalas was killed in the 24th Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Helen Rosenthal.

Deputy Inspector Clint A. McPherson, commanding officer of the 19th Precinct. Motorists have killed at least six people walking in the precinct in 2016 as officers crack down on cyclists.
Deputy Inspector Clint A. McPherson, commanding officer of the 19th Precinct. Motorists have killed at least six people walking in the precinct in 2016 as officers crack down on cyclists.

A motorist in pursuit of a parking spot fatally struck Lee Strong, 83, at approximately 10:40 a.m. last Saturday, September 17.

NYPD told Gothamist the victim ”was in the crosswalk on the southwest corner” of Third Avenue and E. 71st Street when a 41-year-old man driving a Chevrolet SUV “stopped in the far left lane of Third Avenue and then backed into her.”

Strong sustained head trauma and died the next day at Cornell Hospital, Gothamist said.

Vincent Downing, 85, was killed at the same intersection last May by a driver who backed into him, pinning him against a second vehicle.

“Lee loved tennis and Barbra Streisand, Paris and Phoenix, beaches and lakes, Book Group and the National Enquirer, pizza and Jujyfruits,” reads Strong’s obituary, “but nothing could compare with her love for her family. She already is missed beyond words.”

Lee Strong is one of six people killed this year while walking in the 19th Precinct, where cops are more concerned with ticketing cyclists than stopping motorists from taking lives, and in the City Council district represented by Dan Garodnickwho has enabled the 19th Precinct’s complaint-based enforcement practices.

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