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Commercial Driver Kills 81-Year-Old Woman on Atlantic Avenue

1:29 PM EDT on March 21, 2017

A commercial driver struck and killed an 81-year-old woman in a crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue at Rockaway Avenue. The white line indicates the path of the victim — it’s unknown which direction she was walking — and the red arrow indicates the approximate path of the driver, according to NYPD. Image: Google Maps

A commercial driver struck and killed an 81-year-old woman on Atlantic Avenue last week. Of 20 pedestrians killed on NYC surface streets in 2017, at least 13 were seniors.

The victim was crossing Atlantic at Rockaway Avenue, in the crosswalk, at around 3:31 p.m. last Thursday when she was hit by a 36-year-old man in a Ford delivery truck, according to NYPD. Police said the driver was northbound on Rockaway Avenue and struck the victim with the driver’s side of the truck while turning left onto westbound Atlantic.

The victim, whose name had not been released as of this morning, sustained trauma to her head and body. She was pronounced dead at Brookdale Hospital.

The driver’s name was withheld by police. No charges were filed and the investigation remains open, NYPD told Streetsblog.

There is no dedicated signal for motorists turning left onto Atlantic from Rockaway. If the driver had a green light, it's likely the victim had a walk signal and would have been crossing with the right of way.

Atlantic Avenue at Rockaway Avenue is a six- to seven-lane speedway with long crossing distances despite the presence of concrete median islands. Two motorists, one of whom left the scene, fatally struck 49-year-old Rodney Graham as he tried to cross Atlantic at Rockaway in January 2016.

The DOT’s Brooklyn pedestrian safety action plan names both Atlantic Avenue and Rockaway Avenue as streets in need of safety fixes, but the intersection where they cross is not slated for improvements. A segment of Atlantic to the east of this location is in line for a "Vision Zero" redesign, but even that project won't alter the layout of the street in a way that would slow drivers down and make it safer for people walking and biking.

People age 65 and older make up 13 percent of NYC’s population but account for 65 percent of pedestrian fatalities on surface streets this year, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog. Transportation Alternatives has called on the city to do more to protect seniors from reckless drivers.

This fatal crash occurred in the 73rd Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Rafael Espinal.

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