85-Year-Old Driver Hits 3 on Brooklyn Sidewalk, Killing 1

Image: WPIX
Image: WPIX

An 85-year-old driver hit three people on a Brooklyn sidewalk yesterday, killing one victim.

Monday’s crash happened at around 1:15 p.m. outside the Gold Label deli at 281 Brighton Beach Avenue in Brighton Beach. According to NYPD and media reports, the motorist drove a Lexus sedan over the curb in reverse.

Police told WABC the man “lost control while backing into a parking spot after stepping on the gas instead of the brakes.”

The driver shattered the deli’s windows and hit three people — a 70-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man, both deli employees, and a 67-year-old woman who was shopping there — and narrowly avoided striking others.

From the News:

“He was trying to park, but he hit the gas,” drugstore worker Benito Grande said of the driver. “He came up backward on the sidewalk with great speed … He was saying he didn’t know what happened.”

The motorist severed the leg of the 67-year-old victim, who died at Coney Island Hospital, the News reported. Police had not released her identity as of this afternoon, pending family notification. The other victims were transported to Lutheran Medical Center. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

An NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog the investigation into the crash has concluded and the driver, whose name was withheld, would not be charged or ticketed.

The NYS DMV resources page for older drivers is six sentences long and refers people who are concerned about their driving skills to the AARP.

There is no maximum age for driving in New York State. Older drivers may renew their licenses online or by mail, just as younger drivers do.

“DMV will not remove driving privileges based on age or based on any standard except driving ability,” the DMV web site reads. “The best indicator of driving skills and abilities is the performance of the driver on the highway.”

To alert the DMV that an older driver poses a danger to himself and others, the agency requires a hand-written form — emails and phone calls not accepted — submitted by mail from a physician, police officer, or “concerned individuals.” If the DMV then decides to require the driver to submit to a road test, and he fails the test and loses his license, he may apply to have his license reinstated.

The DMV “resources” page for older drivers is six sentences long, and refers people to the AARP for driving courses. “You might talk to your doctor, friends and family to assess your current driving abilities,” the page says.

The DMV crash data site includes statistics and reports focused on teenage drivers, but has minimal information on crashes involving older motorists.

New York City motorists have killed at least 26 people on sidewalks and in buildings since the advent of Vision Zero in January 2014, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

Yesterday’s fatal crash occurred in the 60th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Chaim Deutsch.


  • reasonableexplanation

    It’s kind of nice that older driver problem will likely be mostly solved soon with the advent of self driving cars. In a decade or less, folks getting too old to drive won’t have to lose their mobility anymore.

  • kevin

    This wouldn’t be a problem if everything was designed around walkability.

  • Vooch

    imagine pressing hard enough on the gas pedal while parking to jump the curb and kill.

    This driver was a ticking time bomb for years.

    I recvommend sitting in passenger seat with a driver over 80. You’ll soon conclude they drive similar to someone blotto drunk.

  • reasonableexplanation

    eh? Not sure how walk-ability has anything to do with this. This happened in an extremely transit rich, walk-able neighborhood, on a street underneath an elevated train, where folks don’t drive fast due to the physical geometry.

  • reasonableexplanation

    It’s not hard to imagine; he pressed what he thought was the brake, but it was the gas, so as the car accelerated he floored what he thought was the brake in a effort to stop it, but you know, it was the gas, so he only accelerated further. It was a feedback loop.

  • com63

    I don’t know why cars today can’t be designed to not hit things at low speeds, especially when driving in reverse. There is no reason someone ever needs to be able to go full throttle in reverse. The car should just have a little radar and if it is about to hit an object, it stops automatically.

  • Vooch

    it’s the feedback
    loop of some who
    shouldn’t have been allowed to
    operate a hulking death machine

  • davistrain

    Not that it’s likely to happen, but some of us would like to see motor vehicle commercials on TV, which emphasize glamour, performance the feeling of luxury and adventure, be required to have warnings like cigarette packs: “Caution! Careless or impaired operation of this machine can maim or kill people!”


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