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NYPD: No Charges for Turning Driver Who Killed Peggy Diaz in Rossville

3:24 PM EST on February 8, 2017

A motorist killed 52-year-old Peggy Diaz at Correll Avenue and Gervil Street in Staten Island. The red arrow indicates the approximate path of the driver and the white arrow shows the approximate path of the victim, according to NYPD. Image: Google Maps

NYPD filed no charges and issued no tickets after a driver killed a woman walking to the bus in Rossville.

The crash happened at around 4:08 p.m. Monday. Peggy Diaz, 52, had just finished a shift as a home health aide and was on her way home when a 21-year-old man hit her with a pickup truck while making a left turn from Correll Avenue onto Gervil Street.

Peggy Diaz. Photo via Staten Island Advance
Peggy Diaz. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Photos published by the Staten Island Advance show the truck -- a 2011 Ford F-250 Supercab, its chassis elevated by an off-road suspension system and oversized wheels and tires -- about one car-length from the crosswalk on Gervil, on the south side of the intersection.

Police said the driver, whose identity was shielded, hit Diaz with the right front bumper. "I think she got hit in the face with the truck," Michael Ruppert, the victim’s husband, told the Advance.

Diaz died at Staten Island University Hospital at around 8:37 p.m. Monday, minutes before her family could get there, the Advance reported. By 8 a.m. yesterday NYPD had told the Advance "no criminality" was suspected. Later in the morning police put the blame on the deceased victim:

She was walking from west to east on Gervil at Correll in the vicinity of the south crosswalk, but she was not necessarily within the lines when the accident occurred, the police spokeswoman said.

NYPD routinely releases speculative information that casts blame on people killed by drivers. The severity of a collision is often determined by the motorist's speed, yet NYPD practically never mentions it to the press. Also unknown is whether driver distraction contributed to his presumed failure to see Diaz.

In addition, since Gervil is a dead end street with no signal at Correll Avenue, under city traffic rules it appears that Diaz's position relative to the crosswalk is irrelevant to whether or not she had the right of way.

“In New York City, crossings outside the crosswalk are permitted if the block on which the ‘mid-block’ crossing is made is not bounded by signalized intersections,” attorney Steve Vaccaro, who represents NYC traffic crash victims, told Streetsblog. “On Google Maps, the intersection appears wide open with no obstructions. The driver should have seen a pedestrian 'in the vicinity' of the crosswalk. Perhaps more significantly, Correll is far too wide for a residential street without traffic controls, and this raises the concern that speeding was a factor in the crash.”

This crash is similar to the one that killed 15-year-old Jenna Daniels, who in 2014 was struck by the driver of a jacked-up Ford truck making a left turn from Hylan Boulevard onto Bayview Avenue in Prince’s Bay. NYPD initially said Daniels was not in the crosswalk -- though mid-block crossings are legal on Bayview -- but later ticketed the motorist for careless driving.

Peggy Diaz was killed in the 123rd Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Joe Borelli, who opposes speed cameras and thinks Staten Island pedestrians should have fewer protections from turning motorists.

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